Just a few years ago the technology and market pundits predicted a revolution in home technology with so-called IoT (internet of things) advancements which would revolutionize how we interact with our homes.
So far my home interaction consists of Siri answering a few questions from iPad, iPhone, or Mac, an Amazon Echo telling me what Siri just told me, and a few light bulbs that can be controlled by my iPhone (I did the math; it takes longer to find and open the app on the iPhone than it does to reach over and flick the light switch). Yes, home technology is here. Whom shall we declare as winner?
We’re The Losers
In the gold rush to take over the home and usher humanity into the 21st century (wait; aren’t we here already?) we’ve run into a snag. Some have declared Google the winner. Others say it’s Amazon’s Echo (which fails miserably to catch Apple Watch in sales). Others say it will be Chinese gadget makers.
I say there are no winners. Only losers. We’re the losers because the home still hasn’t gone high tech.
A house is made up of many different technologies; not just our Macs and iPhones and a few lamps with remote controls. Some of that technology is ancient by modern standards, and despite upgrades to circuit boards instead of physical switches. Stove, washer and dryer, refrigerator and freezer (with the ice maker), heating and air conditioning, door locks and security alarms and apparatus, and much, much more. Other than bells and whistles, some of that so-called technology hasn’t changed much in decades.
Worse for home technology aficionados is the product life cycle. My iPhone gets upgraded every year or two. My Macs get upgraded a few years longer. A fridge? A decade. Or, two. Washer and dryer, freezer (ours is going on 24 years), air conditioner and heating system, and other electronic devices just don’t get updated often enough to help push us into a high technology home.
To date, the most advanced piece of modern technology is my iPhone, followed by iPad and Mac. The iPhone can connect to and control a few smart switches which control lights and a few non-essential appliances, but not much more is happening. Yet. We plan to install a new door lock which can be opened by iPhone and Watch, swap out the smoke alarm for a Google Nest, and add a HomeKit enabled security camera (which also works on Apple Watch; Terry White has a nice review).
That’s a start.
It’s just way too soon to declare any technology company a winner in home technology. As with any new wave of modernity, there will be players, winners, and losers. Except for the high tech folks with plenty of money and know-how, and the option to build a high tech home from the ground up, the rest of us are just sitting on the bench waiting to play the game.