For many of us, and I include myself in this up until only a few months ago, if you mention SMART Homes and things like Home Cinemas and Home Automation we would naturally assume these are luxury items for the rich and famous….But not so, with the advances of technology in many areas the field of Home Automation has not missed out. Yes you can spend a small fortune , if you have the means on all sorts of lavish technology that will pretty much fully automate it.
That is from the moment you approach your driveway your home will turn on lights, open gates and doors (and lock them once you're in). Switch lights on and off as you walk through to pick up a freshly brewed coffee on your way to the bathroom where the blinds have been drawn and your bath awaits at the precisely the right temperature!
So let's look at this without the rose tinted spectacles as most of us know Alexa entered many peoples' lives not so long ago, well March 2014 to be exact. Since then 'she' has expanded her capabilities from simply playing our favourite songs and answering the strangest of questions, here are some of the coolest (allegedly) :
Alexa, ask Lyft for a ride. Alexa, create a to-do. Alexa, connect my phone/tablet. Alexa, connect my speaker. Alexa, I need to do laundry. Alexa, I need to make a dentist appointment. Alexa, launch YouTube.
I'm sure you can think of many more and some that are not printable here! But this is the tip of the iceberg for Home Automation at grass roots level and Alexa can be programmed to turn on lights, dim them go to presets with some simple commands.
Let's look at the Home Cinema…let's face it not many of us have a spare room to surrender to a big screen, audio system comfy sofas and a popcorn machine. There is nothing to stop you though upgrading your current situation with perhaps a 'Media Wall' which is a relatively simple and cost effective way of creating a feature that could incorporate a larger screen, a sound system and even a fireplace providing you with a great focal point and even when it's not in use if you have a screen like the @Samsung Frame you can subscribe to a service that shows a Fine Art image or just use it to show family pictures.
During the Pandemic many families decided to upgrade their Extension, garden shed, garage or loft space to create Home Offices for remote working or Entertainment suites or just pure chill out rooms. Yet again these can also be built to a budget and will give you just as much pleasure as the millionaire's next door!!!
So up until now we've looked at busting the myth on the luxury side of SMART Home Technology but let's think now more about how we can really use this to make our and our friends and relatives homes safer. I think here it's now about the application that we can implement within a particular environment and here I am concerned with people who need some help that this technology can provide…and some!
So we know we can control lights so that as you walk into a room they come on and as you leave they will turn off, saving you electricity at the same time as being an efficient use of the resource.
But what about in the kitchen here to we can ensure that the Electric cooker is not left on all night, that the blinds are closed and the doors are locked. With systems like Ring we can check who's at the door even when we're not at home and let them into a secure porch to deliver groceries or packages and safely lock the door afterwards.
With the IOT (Internet of Things) there are other devices that can monitor moisture content (is there a build up of dampness) that could lead to mold and ultimately be a health hazard. Of course we already have Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms.
As we continue to utilise advances within AI and robotics we will continue to see devices and systems once developed for a specific marketplace will begin to trickle into the more affordable regions and rightly so.
I will leave it at that for now as it's time for bed…ALEXA can you put out the cat and finish that painting of the Mona Lisa…and Alexa, do you have a boyfriend? Good night!