When we think of what technology and personal computing have brought to us over the past 30 years, it seems unimaginable how life would be without them. In the Facebook-era, where most people rely on their smartphones, interconnection is something you hardly get around. But when these smart devices provide so various benefits, why not also apply it to the most important places we are in – our homes?
Last week we already discovered that convenience as well as savings of time, money and energy are some of the advantages Smart Homes bring to our lives and already now 58 % of the Germans are in favor of adjusting their equipment to this new trend when building a new house and even 69 % of them could imagine installing smart metering & Co. when renovating their houses.
But what exactly is needed to make your home a Smart Home?
Undoubtedly a huge chunk of technology is required: sensors, intelligent light control, interconnected entertainment electronics and, of course, some way to connect all of that with the Internet so that it is steerable through the web.
Nevertheless this sounds more complicated than it actually is as producers have now developed understandable systems that can also be handled by non-specialists. Intuitive and graphic control with the help of a smartphone or tablet make this possible.
In general there is a base that is linked to several modules for the different devices. Then it works the same way with every gadget, if it is a lamp, a camera or a radiator being controlled from somewhere: everything is steered via the central base. Additional modules can be linked in individually and at any time.
Beware, your home is seeing everything
You feel like heading towards the fridge to grab some candy watching a film at night although you are actually on a diet? Won’t probably work out in a Smart Home if you want it to keep a strict watch at you. The software program needed to link the gadgets in your house in order to corporate and “evaluate” situations in order to act themselves also allows the user to integrate own rules. So what about telling your Smart Home to always post “I’ve become weak once again” automatically on Facebook when the fridge is opened after 6 p.m.?
With Smart Home Systems there is almost no limits. Whereas some applications only require that some connecting gadget is put between device and socket, others can follow programmed rules or vary in combinations.
Imagine in the morning you are woken up by a soft light, afterwards the window shades rise slowly. You get up and enter the warm bathroom where the heating has already turned on a couple of minutes ago. Leaving the bathroom a nice freshly made coffee is already waiting for you in the preheated, cozy kitchen. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Customization vs. Expense
With an extra expense of about 25,000 Euros for the installation of Smart House equipment, this trend is a really expensive one. When the price for a light switch increases from 30 cents to 30 Euros, many people stop considering smart technology as an alternative.
“Almost no one is willing to afford this.
Therefore this technology is not ready for the mass market yet.”
(technology specialist Günther Ohland)
Furthermore the wireless signals for Smart Home technology can often be interrupted by complex electronic devices such as TVs and this can lead to weak or phantom signals or even unreliable operation.
On the other hand we have to have a close look on what Smart Homes give us. Having bought the needed equipment once, you can make modifications without having to pay anyone to change it for you. This is a strength because it enables a limitless application adjusted to your own particular situation. If problems with the system occurs it is mostly not even needed to consult a professional thanks to the minimum of expertise needed to deal with it. A simple look into the owner’s manual will surely help out.
As a potential customer of Smart Home technology it is crucial to consider both pros and cons. Technologists are still at the beginning of their developments and consequently improvements will be made in the future.