Smart homes are as interesting as smart phones; they are a technological commodity that's grabbing attention. However, just how smart is a smart home, and does it actually save consumers money? There are arguments on both sides; some want smart homes for everyone, while others believe they are an astronomical waste of time.
It's important to begin with the basics of the smart home - the devices that make it smart. December of 2016 found CNET reviewing the best smart home devices currently available on the market. This overview delivers a general understanding of these devices and how they interact with our homes:
When these devices are tied together with others, such as smart appliances, the home falls under your control, no matter where you go around the world. As CNBC stated in an article from May 2016, the smart home is defined as one equipped with products connected to each other by a network, and controlled via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Smart homes save money over time when they are incorporated with energy efficient equipment especially in tandem with an energy source like rooftop solar. Companies such as Apple have made it simple for homeowners to install a complete efficiency kit with products such as the HomeKit, which includes a smart thermostat. This intelligent piece of equipment will learn the energy consumption of a home over time, heating, or cooling, the home in a pattern appropriate to the residents' presence, saving on heating costs over time. However, many residents are wary of an energy efficient smart home, mostly through lack of education on the technology, and the inability of equipment such as the thermostat to link to other systems, such as the security system. The Consumer Technology Association suggests that more homeowners might be receptive to an energy efficient smart home if the temperature could be linked to the security system. When the homeowner turns on the security, the thermostat lowers the home temperature to adjust for no residents in the home.
It sounds great to have complete control over your mecca when you can't be there, right? Forbes Magazine, in a 2015 article, argues that they're not as great as the hype might have us believe. The article argues a few major points as to why the smart home is actually stupid, and, though the article is dated, the points are still glaringly accurate in today's technology.
The smart home is as smart as you want to make it. Of course, you must decide on a central system, then build all devices to be compatible to that system, but the control over your home is immeasurable. Never before have we had the technology to remind the television to record our favorite shows when we realize we'll be working late at the last minute. We've never been able to turn the thermostat up remotely, as we are arriving in the taxi after a week-long vacation or business trip. We've never been able to see who's visiting our home while we're on vacation. We've never been able to feel this secure in an uncertain world. The smart home is extremely smart, despite its mentioned drawbacks, because it makes us smarter. It makes us happier, more relaxed, and gives us more time to absorb the world around us, without worrying over what is happening to our homes. Smart homes are smart for anyone who wants to concentrate on living life, not on worrying.