To many people, home automation is linear actuators and remote controls, rather than anything more special. Being able to build a standing desk is useful for many people (especially now that more and more people are working from home) as well as much easier with linear actuators on the scene, but it is not the entirety of what home automation is. Linear actuators are one of the innovations which have really caused home automation to come to people’s attention in recent years, as they have greatly expanded what home automation can actually do: aside from the usual chair and TV lifts, and the above-mentioned standing desks, linear actuators have created security cameras which can be moved remotely, and which can cover a wider area of ground, among other things.
Many of our technological concepts are still out of our reach in the grand scheme of things, with hydrators and hoverboards (!!) being things which are among the many ideas which are we can’t yet work on. However, that is not to say that home automation is at a standstill; quite the reverse. There are so many advances in technology which we can see coming right now, and which will completely revolutionize the way in which we use home automation. As well as maintaining the old influence of security systems and drop down TV lifts, our technology is going to bring more integrated homes within the next few years.
Smart meters are something which everyone should eventually upgrade to. Everybody has a meter in their home, but generally speaking, they are all old and outdated, not to mention that very little can be done with them. Smart meters are very much more interactive than the usual meters people have, in a variety of different ways. These meters can be controlled more easily, for a start, and thus can be used within the household more efficiently. A smart meter directly controls the appliances which it is monitoring, and if that control is expanded to include a remote control aspect, then the homeowner can easily control their appliances through the meter.
Smart meters will also be able to display how much energy is being used within a house, and potentially break it down to allow homeowners to see what they are spending their money on. This allows for a greater degree of control over a home, with the potential for changing habits throughout.
Wi-Fi Ready Appliances
This could potentially apply to other appliances as well, but ovens which have operating systems built into them which will allow for communication between a homeowner and their oven are being seriously discussed. There are so many applications for an oven which can be connected to remotely, notwithstanding the usual application of being able to put the oven off or on from a distance, therefore taking away the need to be present when a meal is going to put on to cook. The possibilities for this are endless; not only can someone put a meal on to cook when they are returning from work, they can also use the same systems to cancel the meal if their plans change, and they will not be back in time.
Fridges are another appliance which has been talked about in the context of the internet of things, and appliances which can talk to remote devices. Having a fridge which can tell you when you are running low on leeks is something which is very useful, wouldn’t you say? Fridges with a connection to a mobile device will be able to connect with their homeowner in a way which allows for a much more interactive relationship with food. Knowing what food needs to be eaten soon, and what food needs to be replaced before it runs out is helpful to people who are on the move.
One particularly interesting piece of home automation was the suggestion of a smart appliance which could interact with people’s mobiles devices at large. While it would fundamentally act as a speakerphone, as it would link the phone to a speaker and let hands-free conversations happen, it also has voice interaction (like other voice interactive programmes which already exist), can send and receive messages, and can act as a radio to allow people using it to listen to their favourite radio stations while they workrelax.
What makes the household interactivity represented in this device particularly interesting is the way in which it can interact with phones. The designers have been able to come up with a way to combine two different phone numbers to allow for group conversations and phone calls. The texts and emails can come up on the device, as well as being sent to all the mobile devices involved, which is something that can be useful from a variety of perspectives. This type of device could be useful as a central hub in an automated home.