When smart homes are a need and not a lifestyle

You can have a Wi-Fi camera that you can see from an app on your mobile phone. Nice.

You can have another app to open and close your curtains — OK. You can use a third app to turn on or off some special lights. Not bad.

However, is this really the dream of what automating your home is all about? What if we think about this in a broader sense and on very practical terms?

An automated home where things work together, not on separate systems that do not communicate with each other. One where every device and service can create a series of actions based on what you want to happen (If this, then that ...).

Let’s say that I asked you to perform a small set of tasks as a test. I instructed you to turn on a garage or driveway light, open and close the door of your home, lock it, then get in and start the car. This seems like a simple sequence of activities.

But, I then told you that you had to be wearing a different pair of shoes for each of these activities. You would think that I either owned a shoe store or was just trying to drive you crazy!

Well, using different systems or platforms for individual elements of automating your home seems as though it is trying to make you crazy in a similar fashion. Why can’t you wear just the one pair of shoes to perform these tasks? Of course, you can.

Why can’t you have just one platform to integrate the automation of your home? Now, you can.

But, let’s not stop there. Not diverging from the practical and real terms of what this should mean, if you include your entertainment, health care, education, data storage, security, energy management, etc. You begin to see that this is not about buying a ‘disco’ light bulb, or a talking thermostat, but about having what it takes to unify your life, the way you live, your one holistic home.

When it comes to ‘home’, the entablement of a holistic approach through integration of the IOTS (internet of Things and Services) is the differentiator — the missing link — with the intent that all vertical services can be unified and interact with each other in many ways. Do you want your home to turn on the lights, air conditioning and outdoor cameras when you walk in, or simply turn on the coffee percolator and water heater for a comfortable shower and breakfast when you wake up?

Your personal media access capability should also be available on the same platform, with remote access to personal content — music, photos, movies — safely stored at home. Network cameras should be secure in their architecture, not use cloud storage or cloud access, with network cameras accessed only by the user and storing information exclusively at home, with notifications delivered to you.

Let’s not forget that you want the built-in capability to add education and eHealth services and devices as these areas develop.

I think you’ll agree that this is more like what automating your life should be. It should only cost you a fraction of your paycheck and the TV, smartphone or tablet should give you access and control. And, by the way, it should be easy for you to set up, control and use every day.

It is not that we may be asking too much in all of this, it is that we have not been expecting enough!

All of this is available to you now if you make some smart choices. Some of the stand-alone gadgets we see are cool, but so were the first, brick-sized ‘mobile phones’ in the 1980s.

That doesn’t mean you want to be using one today when there are much better options. The same holds true for a ‘smart home’ and ‘smart living’.

Source: Nasri Tehini, Special to Gulf News

The writer is CEO of Makook Smart Living.


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