How Today's Smart Homes Compare to the Dreams of Yesterday
When Disney’s Carousel of Progress debuted in 1964, its signature song spoke of a “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” a golden age of technological progress that would turn our world into a futuristic dreamland.
While the Carousel of Progress didn’t anticipate everything, its attempts make it more than worthwhile to ask the question, “How does the smart house of today stack up against the fantasies of the past?” After all, much of our smart home technology seems as though it came to us straight out of our favorite science fiction TV shows, movies, comics and books.
Here’s a look at some of the ways today’s smart homes are making yesterday’s fantasies a reality.
Artificial Intelligence as the New Personal Assistant
Works of science fiction have often predicted the future with uncanny accuracy. From the Disney Channel original movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century to The Jetsons and 2001: A Space Odyssey, we’ve already imagined developments such as live video phone calls and incredibly advanced computer systems able to run households and spaceships.
Sound familiar? Not only do today’s householders rely on video platforms for personal communication and telecommuting alike, we also rely on a series of high-tech gadgets that serve as personal assistants.
It started, of course, with Siri, the personal assistant program built into the Apple iPhone and iPad that can help you make calls and adjust your schedule on the go. From there, we moved on to smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo, where users could interact with Alexa, an artificial intelligence program capable of sharing recipes, providing a weather report and even updating shopping lists.
For many, digital assistants such as these have become like members of your extended family, integral to keeping the household on time and functioning safely and properly.
But our smart homes go well beyond video calls and device-bound personal assistants.
What exactly is a “smart” thermostat? A smart thermostat operates through your home’s WiFi network, letting you set customized schedules and control your home through an app on your smartphone or tablet.
The advantage of this is more than just control. By turning down the AC or heat while you’re away at work, you can save on your electric bill and operate your home in a way that’s more environmentally efficient.
For example, many smart thermostats integrate with Google Nest and can be operated using Google Assistant or similar products. A smart thermostat can not only learn from your behavior, it can also produce energy reports that help you learn which appliances are consuming the most electricity. You can even see seasonal patterns in your electric bills to help you plan for changes in seasons.
Smart Home Security Systems
While home security cameras are nothing new, their quality has improved considerably, while their price has never been more affordable.
The latest HD security cameras offer crystal-clear video and can be a valuable part of your home automation technologies. You can set the camera to begin recording when a triggering “event” occurs (such as the front door opening) and receive alerts about these events delivered via text or email so you can see what’s happening in real-time.
This can also be helpful for monitoring your home anytime you’re away. And yes, this means you can check in on Rover and Fluffy while you’re stuck at the office. You can even take pictures from afar to show off your fur babies to your coworkers.
But smart home security doesn’t end with the cameras. Smart lighting and smart electrical outlets can be set on a programmable schedule, creating the illusion of someone being home even when you’re out of the country. This isn’t just a way to deter break-ins. Having your lights come on when you open your front door can also keep you from stumbling in the dark.
Entertainment of the Future
Avid fans of Star Trek will be familiar with the holodeck, a place where a series of holograms let users literally enter into their favorite stories. Even though we’re not quite there yet, digital devices allow immersive experiences in virtual worlds in ways that are both passive and active.
Actively, the latest generation of video game consoles and virtual reality technologies bring play to life like never before. Gamers regularly enter into combat with other players from across the globe through network play.
Meanwhile, your home’s screens can display the latest streaming movies and TV shows, and the artificial intelligence built into these services can bring you recommendations for your next binge session. And because streaming devices are now equipped with assistants like Alexa, you can ditch the remote and simply use your voice to change the channel, pause and rewind your favorite TV shows.
A Clean Home is a Happy Home
Smart devices are also capable of managing how you keep your home clean. Google Nest, for example, can be paired with the Roomba vacuum cleaner, allowing you to set cleaning cycles and manage charging cycles.
The vacuum itself will also learn as it cleans, creating a map of your home so it can maneuver more efficiently with each new cycle. It’s not quite Rosie from The Jetsons, but it’s close!
Welcome to the “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”
According to a Connectivity & Mobile Trends Survey conducted by Deloitte this past year, the average U.S. household now has 25 connected devices, everything from tablets and smartphones to smart TVs, wireless headphones, fitness assistants, and gaming consoles. Just how many of our homes have gotten smarter? 66% of U.S. households have at least one smart device, and 39% of those smart device households have chosen to increase their home Internet speed. In other words, smart home tech — and the Internet needed to power it — are just getting started.
SmartMove can help you get the most from your in-home technology by connecting you to the right Internet, mobile and cable TV providers. Whether you’re planning a move or simply looking to upgrade to the latest tools and tech, contact us to take your home into the world of tomorrow.
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