Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Do we want "smarter homes?" It's big news. I've read various articles. I've seen some amazing photos.   

Cell phone manufacturers are all lathered up, excitedly selling us, telling us that we can run our lives marvelously, easily, efficiently, and much more safely, with our smartphones.

Google, Apple, Samsung. Microsoft, and dozens of other up-and-comers like them, are bubbling over, swollen fat with fantastic new apps. They're partnering with tech companies who create gadgets that you can connect to your home internet and access on your phone. GE, Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, and all the other providers, are involving themselves in the smarter home concept.

Already, you can control your lights, door locks, heat, air conditioning, monitor yard, and garage, and now there's more -- you can monitor the pool, fences, gates, the mail in your mail box, and feed pets -- there's even a gadget that automatically generates your grocery shopping list.

Picture life in a smarter home: You rise from your bed, lights flicker on, air temperature is already adjusting to the outdoor temperature; while flushing your toilet you could be reminded, "Brush your teeth." As you move to the kitchen, a voice greets you from your sound system, and gives you today’s forecast. Reaching for your coffee that began brewing automatically, there's a broadcast with today's news on the radio or on your television.

When I read about a limbless veteran's customized smart home, I was very impressed. The  apps were significant; the fact that walls, appliances, small and large objects can be moved, and controlled, enabled him to cook and care for himself.  

Smart home companies list all kinds of gadgets that can be connected to your home's Intermet, via a hub. You can even synchronize what you've got in your home right now with a starter kit from Home Depot that costs around $300.

Of course, with high-tech features -- things like an automated shower, wifi tooth brushes, touch screen toilets, a home theater with bed chairs -- it can cost a lot -- $10,000 to $250,000 -- depending on what you want.

It would be -- wow, terrifically nice if I could finger touch a screen, and my boring, everyday chores were taken care of, but ... well, when I, brew coffee for my husband and serve it in one of his favorite mugs -- he's got mugs with show titles shows he's starred in -- that's special; that's fun. And when I mop the floor, or adjust the thermostat ... well, it's like watering my house plants -- I'm proud of myself -- it's enjoyable in the way that ordinary accomplishments are pleasurable.

No doubt about it, a smarter home with everything automated might be flabbergastingly wonderful, but I like being proud of myself for all sorts of not very important little things that make me ME.

Hey,  the Time Magazine that featured smarter homes said, "The dwellings of the future can make you calmer, safer, richer and healthier." I'm saying don't jump on the smart home bandwagon without thinking very carefully about what makes your home, a home sweet home.   


Carola said...

I'd like to have a machine cook for me.

Gary Alan Henson said...

Whoo Hoo, now my house is smarter than I am! ;-)
There are several 'smart' home ideas in all this that pretty cool and useful. But I agree with you and John, doing little things at home is important to me, I enjoy it.
No one wants to go back to shoveling coal all day and all night just to keep warm. Automatic heating and A/C are wonderful!
But things like having your frig tell you when you need to buy eggs or automated showers, IMHO, is silly and a waste of resources.
If anything, I want FEWER blinking lights in my house. When I get up at night (several times ;-) I'm amazed at all the green and red LEDs that stare back at me! TV, DVR, DRV, stereo, DVD, clocks, frig, security panels, remotes, laptops, routers, modems, more computers, smoke alarms, motion sensors, my silly phone, my Nook, Debbie's iPad, device chargers, for Pete's sake, even the dish washer!.... good grief, will all you devices turn your lights, I'm trying to sleep here!
I don't get the claims of 'calmer, richer or healthier'. Really? Richer for the vendors of all those devices and controllers and app developers, I guess.
Me? Not so much. ;-)

Dustspeck said...

Whenever I'm standing in water up to my shoulders and looking out to that place where you can't tell where the sky starts and the water disappears at the horizon, I feel like I'm there; or here, someplace that feels like home anyway. Into the pure light of heaven trumps all else though, near or far, a place that's real to me but beyond my grasp, just outta reach, underneath the stars. Dustspeck