According to a survey conducted by Business Insider in February 2017, 30% of GenX in the United States own an Amazon Echo, 17% own smart light bulbs & Internet connected thermostats, 13% have Internet connected security systems, 12% have Smart Appliances, and 5% are using Google Home. What this survey shows is that approximately 1/3 of Americans between the ages 33-52 have already embraced this technology, and that it’s here to stay! Besides the ‘coolness’ factor, what are some of the benefits that are driving the mass adoption of smart technology?
Convenience: Have you ever lived in an apartment building, or perhaps, a multi story home? What was it like when you had to do the laundry? You’d run down the stairs, put in a load in the washing machine, go back upstairs, and tend to one of your many responsibilities. Then, 3 hours later, you remember to put the clothes in the dryer. The problem is, someone else needed the washing machine and dumped your wet clothes on the table (hopefully), because you did not return in a timely manner to transfer them to the dryer. Now, all the dryers are in use, so you go back up the stairs, not knowing when the dryer will be free – or worse, you end up waiting for a dryer to become available (and hope the user empties it in a timely manner)!
A smart washer/dryer will work as follows:
You send a text to the washer reserving it for a specific timeslot. It confirms whether or not it’s available. If not available, it will text you 15 minutes before it’s free to give you sufficient time to arrive and claim your reservation (with a 5 minute grace period). The washer will then reserve a dryer for you and lock it so that no one can use it until you’re finished (also with a certain grace period)! When the dryer is almost done, you receive a notification to come and pick up your clothes. If you were looking to rent an apartment, and had a choice between 2 apartment complexes, one with a smart washer/dryer, and one without one, which one would you choose? I thought so!
Safety: Imagine an elderly person who is living alone and is homebound. The person is mobile, but has serious health issues and must be looked after 24/7. It can be very traumatic to force an elderly parent out of his house, or even just invade his privacy by hiring a live in caregiver. What if you didn’t have to make this decision? What if there was another way to ensure the safety and care of your homebound relative, without impacting his privacy or independence?
A fully integrated smart home solution might be just what the doctor orders!
A smart camera will keep an eye on your relative to ensure he is getting adequate fluids. When he drinks a glass of water, the camera will register that and store it in a database. You can then “ask” the camera how much water he drank today, and the camera will respond. Are you concerned that he forgot to take his medicine? Just ask the pillbox and it will tell you! If he forgets to take his pills by a certain time, you will receive a notification. You can even check on his blood pressure and blood sugar by messaging the respective in home medical devices. Should his body weight get too low, the scale will notify you!
If an emergency were to take place, for example he fainted, the smart camera will send out a notification to a distribution list of caregivers, such as his nurse, doctor, hospital, ambulance, and children, so that the proper emergency medical care can arrive as soon as possible.
Savings: It gets quite hot in New York during the summer. If everyone is out of the house for an entire day and the AC is left running, that can translate into a hefty electric bill. Chances are, that if you live in a house with several teenagers, someone is going to leave the AC running. Your smart camera will alert you that the house is empty and the AC is still running. You can then message the AC to turn off. Are you expecting people to be home soon? No problem. Just tell the AC to turn back on! Here is another scenario that’s common in a house with children. How many times has the refrigerator door been left open in your house? Let’s say you’re at work and your teenager comes home and takes out a frozen pizza. The problem is that he doesn’t remember to close the door! After a few minutes you receive a notification from the refrigerator door saying “Hey! Someone left me open!” To which you respond, “close refrigerator door”, and like magic, the door closes!
In conclusion, as we can see, there are tremendous benefits in embracing and adopting smart technology. What we just discussed is only the very tip of the iceberg. There is so much more available today! As we move into the future, a world where smart technology is as ubiquitous as cellular phones and Wi-Fi are today, there will be a need for a ubiquitous unified interface which will be compatible with all smart devices, regardless of the manufacturer. You will be able to communicate with your Sony TV using the same interface as your Bosch dishwasher or Hoover Robo-Vac. Who knows, maybe the TV will tell the Robo-Vac to be quiet during the game and only turn on during commercials! (Except, maybe, during Super Bowl Commercials!)
My question for you is, what kind of smart device do you wish you had?
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