A few generations ago, when people dreamed of the future, they imagined that we would be living in homes that would do our thinking for us. The houses would be able to do anything on command, and all that we as occupants would have to do would be to press a button or give a verbal command, and we’d get exactly what we want. Homes would be automated. Homes would be smart.
Well, it may have taken longer than expected, but the technology to completely automate our homes is finally becoming an affordable reality. Thanks to digital wireless communication, mobile smart devices, and the growing presence of the Internet of Things, more and more home functions are becoming the responsibility of automated technology. Here are a few advances that we can look forward to in the not-that-distant-at-all future:
Many central air systems are automated in new homes. These systems come with more than programmable thermostats. Yes, they come with options that allow them to run on their own, but they also come with options that allow you to control them with a laptop or mobile device. The most advanced HVAC systems give you information about their operations, temperature and energy usage. You can see how much power is used, and you can make changes to your use of the system if you think you are using too much energy. You can check the temperature in the house, and you can change the temperature with the click of a button. These systems also tell you when the filters need to be changed, and sensors in the system will tell you what parts of the system need to be repaired. And, as if that weren’t enough, there are even thermostats now available that actually learn your home heating habits, and adjust themselves accordingly, which means that when it comes to heating and cooling, it looks as though human input is becoming obsolete.
When you link your appliances to a home automation system, you can turn them on and off via your computer or mobile device. Washing machines, coffee makers, crock pots, and anything else that runs off of electricity can all be adapted to send and receive communication signals. This means that soon we’ll be seeing homes filled with appliances that can be controlled and monitored remotely. This will provide opportunities for busy homeowners to take care of chores and prepare meals from anywhere in the world, and to spend more of their time while at home on more interesting tasks.
Security systems were some of the first to move to automation, but recent advances have improved upon previous abilities substantially. Types of security have advanced to include not only protection from from theft and vandalism but also from accidents and natural disasters. Surveillance cameras with feeds that can be viewed at any time from any internet connection and then automatically record to the cloud for later playback, door locks that sense a homeowners approach and automatically disengage, motion-sensing external lighting that sends out alerts when movement occurs in the yard or near doors or windows—all of these technologies currently exist, and will soon be not only available, but standard, leading to an era of ultra secure homes.
They say that fighting against dust, dirt, and general disorganization in the home is a battle that never ends. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean that it necessarily has to be a battle fought by you. With the unveiling of the robotic vacuum cleaner, the world was introduced to the possibility of mechanical housecleaning. We can expect more and more chores to soon be relegated to robotic servants. Imagine having robotic scrubbers that scour the shower or tub once you’re done using it. How about a mechanized lawnmower that automatically cuts your grass once it reaches a certain length, and yet still knows how to avoid potential obstacles? And there’s no reason why a robotic kitty-litter cleaner wouldn’t be able to tidy-up Mr. Snuggles’ box just as well as any human. Basically, if you don’t enjoy doing it, then there’s a good chance that you’ll soon have access to a robot designed to do it for you.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy a more automated future than the dreamers of past generations could ever have imagined. Your home is about to get a lot smarter.