I have recently been fortunate enough to buy a new home (and yes the housing market has gone mad in Sydney!). I can’t wait to move in. Why? Well to be completely honest, apart from affording us more space, we are going to end up with a ‘parent’s retreat’ just off our bedroom. This small space (and importantly just our space) will most likely comprises of two comfy chairs, a shared stool, some side tables, reading lamps, good books and a place to relax. Free of technology and disruption (for once I am referring to the definition from pre-2014). The noisy ones (our children) will be in their own rumpus room, door shut, connected to the world via Apple TV, and whatever other contraptions we allow them to have over the years. We do get them out (honest), walk the dog, play some football, but the inevitability of a yearning to be connected and in control to everything is a hard one to avoid for the future generations. Faster than we realise.
As an example, the above is an illustration from a 1935 issue of the magazineEveryday Science and Mechanics, the ‘next logical step in the world of publishing’ was envisioned: a mechanical microfilm reader mounted on a large pole that would theoretically allow you to sit back in your armchair and scroll through the pages of a book with the push of a button. It didn’t quite take off, however thing have moved quickly over the last few years, and we got there in the end with the iPad, Kindle and others. Saying that, I still read paper books (Gen Zs click here if you are confused by the words paper and book together)
There are countless examples of future homes and contraptions that never quite made it (one just has to watch Back to the Future). One thing for sure, is that we have always been obsessed with making life easier at home and the internet of things is made a hug difference (but not necessarily a better one, I reckon). The home of the future will be more of an ecosystem of devices than, err, a home? Everyone is out to capitalize on this shift change, and eventually making sure that all of the devices in our homes can talk to one another and to us.
For example, our friend the all conquering, Apple, is rolling out its HomeKit. HomeKit is a home automation system that will allow users (this what people living in their own homes will become known as) to have wireless and electronic control of their home and all the smart devices in it via their iPhone or iPad. As a result, we will be able to control all the household features and appliances like heating, lighting or security from their phones or tablets.
Thanks to HomeKit, you won’t need to use individual apps to control every single smart device in your home. Oh, and for a laugh, Siri will be there to help. Great?!? The main competitor Apple will have to keep an eye on is Google. They acquired the home automation firm Nest Labs last year, so expect something from them soon too.
Anyhow, to end, here are a few of the more interesting automated home devices out to improve our home lives – enjoy:
August / The August Smart Lock makes it possible to lock and unlock a home from any mobile device. It can even unlock doors for friends and family from anywhere.
Hue Lights / They fit into existing light sockets and allow for total control wirelessly — perfect for movie-mood lighting, alarms, and timers.
Makerbot / After three trips to the hardware store in one day, it was time to invest in the Makerbot. Now they can print anything from Nerf guns to nails with this super maker.
Parrot Flower / Continuously monitors the health of the home’s 100 exotic plants. Updates and alerts are received 24/7 via their mobile devices.
Honeywell Tuxedo Touch / A touchscreen hub organizes video monitoring, smart locks, home heating and more. It’s also voice-controlled, making it great for when hands are full, which is almost always.
Dyson Eye / Like the Eye of Sauron, this robot sees everything. It knows where it is, where it has been and where it has yet to clean. Dyson will even follow a kid around to minimize the tornado effect. I love this.
LG Smart Fridge / Old yogurt containers and black baby carrots wedged in the back of the crisper are in the past. The LG Smart ThinQ Wi-Fi Fridge couldn’t be cooler. It sports an LCD screen and its accompanying smartphone app tracks food, and expiration dates.
Are you already using any of these or others? I’d be interested to know.
Thank you for reading.
ps I have directly referencing a bit off this brilliant article on the automation of the home from the perspective of different generations. Worth the read too.