Well here is my confession..... I absolutely love home technology.
I'm always interested to see what ground breaking invention (no matter how useless) is going to be the next hot trend and if I can afford it.
This last 5 years has really seen home and smart technology gather pace and interest. From robot gardeners to automated washing and coffee machines, this industry is only going to grow bigger and bigger as we humans seek ways to improve our quality of life.
But does it improve our quality of life? Well, when it works... YES!
The issue for the layman is that it can be confusing, finicky to set up and darn right frustrating when it doesn't react as you hope it would. Some devices you control directly, through an app on a smartphone (or controller). Others connect to a hub - think of this as a bridge from your router that connects the internet to the device.
One of the biggest issues with these systems is that it's all a bit fragmented, you might have one system for your lighting, one for music, another for locks on your doors and others for your home appliances. There's no industry set standard although (Samsung) Smarthings and Z-wave technology looks to be the most user-friendly and widely adoped sytem out there (from my experience). In my home you'll find a Samsung Smarthings Hub (for security, light switches and sound systems), and LG Hub (with an infa red blaster replacing the traditional remote), a NEST thermostat (heating), a SONOS system (speakers) and a HEOS home entertainment sytem too.
That's alot of systems and alot of different apps.... That's where Google Home comes in (Alexa is a good alternative). The Google Home is a smart speaker that you can give voice commands to with one simple app that's compatible and syncs with all the different apps for all my various devices in one place. Sure, I sound silly talking to an inanimate object but I tell you what it's great!
I'd like to see builders and planners start to adopt this technology into their developments. Simple things like smart-light switches, smart-heating systems, home security, smart blinds and applicances, if done right can be an absolute joy to be hold. In a simple 'good night' command I have the power now to turn off all appliances in the house, shut the lights off downstairs, cool the heating and light up the bedroom. To be fair this is a really simple setup and I've seen people really take this to another level with hydrophonic systems, pet feeders and complex security systems straight out of the next millenia!
Am I being lazy, well it might look like that to some, moreso, I think that I'm being efficient! I mean, I remember, as a boy, having to get up to walk over to the TV just to change to one of the four channels! Times have moved on..... :P
Does it add value? For the right audience it does but it's quite specific and not for everyone. It can also greatly help with the energy efficiency of the house for example it can know when you're not home and save the heating from coming on, it can monitor your power consumption and make sure only appliances you will use are powered up at any given time. Would my mother agree??
No no, she still keeps a long stick by the couch to cycle through those TV channels.... (bless you mother!).