SmartHome, Necessary or Luxury ?

SmartHome has been a trend since few years ago. A concept which connect house’s utilities to smartphone seems took public’s interest. From lamp to refrigerator, security camera to even bed, all now can be controlled and monitored via mobile devices. It serve different purposes, like monitoring the quality of sleep, checking what’s left on fridge while you’re at work so you can stop at groceries on your way home. All seems convenient and easy, but convenience come with risks. Not only the vulnerability and exposure of your house to the unwanted third-parties, but also the risk of having your house burned down to ashes. How come a technology leads to such a risk ? 

Necessary vs Luxury

The concept of SmartHome is convenience. Automated lamp, personal home assistant, and any other stuff is build nothing but to ease human’s life. But convenience come with certain price, which in this case the utilities and furniture that can or has the capability to create a SmartHome has higher price tag rather than the conventional one. The added features mean added components, like sensors, wireless connectivity, interface parts, etc. The question is, does the extra cost for SmartHome utilities worth it ? Or shall we just stick to the conventional house utilities ? The answer is depends on your needs, and lifestyle. 

For someone who is rarely at house, or working dawn till dusk and barely have time to take care of themselves, SmartHome could be useful, and they can use the provided features optimally since their target market is for those who happen to have no time for house-caring. But what if you’re not that kind of people ? SmartHome utilities would not be much different than conventional one. In fact, if you’re often staying at home, or spend around 8 to 10 hours at home, you may not feel the difference between having a SmartHome with a “regular” home. 

SmartHome does indeed look aesthetically beautiful, for the colours usually comes in either white or other soft colour that could blend in with other furniture without being stand out. Apart from its beauty, if one doesn’t really need the feature it has, it will only serve as an expensive decorative. 

Of course, as our homes learn more about us, keeping them secure will become all the more important. Every device that’s connected to the Internet is a potential target for hackers. When we’re talking about devices that can unlock our homes from afar, peer into our living rooms using cameras, and collect our most sensitive and personal data, cybersecurity will become all the more vital. Any kind of massive breach that turns off consumers, says Daniel Cooley, chief strategy officer at electronics-component manufacturer Silicon Labs, could be catastrophic for the industry. “I call it a mass-extinction event for the Internet of Things,” he says.

A range of technological developments will drive smart-home technology well beyond what’s available on store shelves today. Innovations in artificial intelligence, for example, stand to upend almost everything in our lives, including our homes. You might already be using some kind of AI-powered voice-assistant gadget to get the latest news or weather forecast every morning. But in the smart home of the future, those AI platforms could serve as the brain for entire homes, learning about residents and coordinating and automating all of their various smart gadgets. IoT company Crestron, for example, is working on software that tracks a person’s habits, like which music they want to hear in the morning or which lights they want to be on at a certain time of day. Then, once it gets the hang of a user’s preferences, it automatically plays just the right playlists or dims the lights before bedtime. “That’s really the next evolutionary step in true automation,” says John Clancy, head of Crestron’s residential business.

Robots, too, will have a role to play in the smart home of the future. Smart vacuum cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba are already picking up after us, while products like the Aibo, a robotic dog for children, show how they might help keep us company like a pet. As for the future? Robotic-furniture company Ori Living is working with Ikea on pieces that change based on your needs, getting the bed out of the way when you need a desk, or hiding your closet when it’s dinnertime. Design firm Design3 recently showed off a smart-home robot concept, CARL. The fabric-covered bot is meant to slowly roll around your home, activating its retractable cameras and sensors to detect intruders, notify you of any harmful emissions or keep an eye on your pet. And computer-graphics company Nvidia is working on a smart robotic arm that can act as its owner’s personal sous chef, doing everything from slicing and dicing veggies to helping with cleanup; it could be particularly useful for busy parents or disabled users. If such a device went into production, cameras and sensors could help prevent it from accidentally injuring an innocent bystander who’s just on the way to the fridge for a quick snack before dinnertime.

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