The promise of the smart home is slowly becoming a reality, with the technology and services available to digitally enhance your house to perform a number of tasks automatically that people have traditionally done themselves.
Everything from pre-setting television programming or room temperature, to turning the washing machine on and off, to even feeding your pet if you're coming home late from work or away on vacation, are now tasks that can be done remotely using wireless connectivity and other digital technology.
We're still in the early stages of digital home adoption, so this technology will become even more sophisticated and integrated into our lives in the future.
Click on the photo below to see some ways your home is becoming smarter than ever before.
Smart locks are also an emerging digital home trend, allowing you to control your home’s door locks from your smartphone and eliminating the problem of lost keys forever. New systems like the August Smart Lock (pictured) use a wirelessly enhanced doorknob/lock system that can connect to a smartphone app to provide this service, and also allow you to give virtual keys to others to allow anyone you want to have access to your home. (Source: August Lock)
The very important thing to remember about ALL of the "wonderful" new products is that they are all designed and put into production in that all-consuming race to be first to market. Lots of articles and ads in Design News, as well as other publications, bring home the perceived importance of getting to market before others do. So while there is quite possibly some testing done, it probably is not as extensive as it would need to be. Also, features keep being added that are later discovered to be a bit different than they were intended to be.
After all, the major purpose of the businesses is toprovide shareholders with the maximum possible ROI, and that is usually in conflict with providing a very high quality product. (Note that my definition of high quality is delivering the benefits promised and paid for. This definition is not universal.)
Yes, good point again, William K. There will definitely be some hiccups early on in this technology for sure. It will probably take awhile before all of these electronic items, including locks, work as flawlessly as they must for true reliability and dependability. I think early adopters are taking risks, but I don't think the risks are that big. I am sure products, especially for home safety and security, have undergone rigorous testing and likely have good service plans to help clients if any problems arise.
The simple alternative to the expensive smart lock is the much less expensive "key box" like realtors use. They are harder to break than most residential door locks, the combination is simple to change, they have no batteries to fail, and they cost less than $50. An added benefit is that you can pull it off and then nobody can gain access, plus they take no tools for a quick installation on most doors.
I agree with you, William K, about the pet feeder. I included it because I thought it was really interesting, but I don't think I'd use it. I have two cats and while they are certainly more independent than dogs, I do like to have someone looking in on them and not just feeding them when I go away.
You make incredibly good points, Smoke&Flames. I fall somewhere in the middle of the half-techie, half-luddite camp. I also live in a place that's fairly low-tech. I probably couldn't take too much advantage of these technologies without a bit of effort. I think they're really interesting, but I personally am fine to keep things low key at home and happy not to digitize a lot of things I can just do myself. I think that it would cause a whole host of new problems, as you mention, that I would rather not deal with. But for people who want the latest and greatest tech, there are certainly "smart" options for the home.
Thanks, Debera. I thought this was really interesting to compile and cut through the hype a bit and see just how much automation is actually possible. Turns out it's quite a bit, though perhaps these technologies aren't so widely used yet.
Yeah, I agree with you that the smart locks seem a bit dodgy, Cabe. The idea of giving out codes to whoever you want to open up your house is a nice one for trusted folks, but that info could easily get in the wrong hands. I am sure they must work, though, or people wouldn't use them. Perhaps best used in generally safe areas.
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