It seems that modern living is creeping closer and closer to our old sci-fi fantasies of what the future would hold by the day. We’re not quite there with the flying cars or tubes that whizz us anywhere in the world in seconds, but we’re taking steps towards more practical solutions to issues that affect almost everyone. The Smart Home is something only the super-wealthy could afford ten or twenty years ago, but the multichannel reach of technology is making everything more accessible and affordable all the time. Hence why now is the boom of the Smart Home.
We’re busy people nowadays, and surely there are few of us who would say no to a bathtub that could run itself, a boiler that could switch itself on and off, and remote control of almost every electronic function within the household. Short of becoming some sort of AI House like from the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episode, a house that could control itself would be pretty darn nifty.
Pros of Smart Home Systems
The more you look, the harder it is to track down a household function or appliance that can’t be made ‘Smart’ today. From security basics like locks, lights and cameras, to the real luxuries like automated coffee makers and washing machines, you can hook it all up to your smart devices and orchestrate one big electronic symphony in your house.
In practical terms, this can serve many a purpose, such as for those with limited mobility, or those who are in the habit of forgetting to turn things off and lock things up before heading out. As lifestyle travels further in the ‘Smart’ direction, it is likely that having such measures in place will lower insurance payments, as has been happening in cars for calculating safe driving.
On top of all this, a Smart Home is useful for keeping tabs on many of your bills and utilities, allowing you to set limits and control settings from your device. Some really advanced sensors and controls, such as water leak and heat sensors, help to avoid damage, danger, and wastage.
Cons of Smart Home Systems
Unfortunately, as nice as it is to be able to have control over all of these processes from a remote location, that control can land in the wrong hands. To hackers, breaking into a domestic burglar alarm is a breeze compared to the far more difficult and risky crimes they might choose to commit. As with internet banking, putting important functions in the hands of technologies does make them vulnerable to attack, and it is a very easy way for criminals to steal a whole house’s worth of goods in one simple move.
As with any flashy, state-of-the-art status symbol, it comes at a cost, and of course, an entire Smart Home is fairly obsolete without a considerable number of Smart devices inside. So it takes investment to start up, and it takes investment to maintain. Bear this in mind when starting out in Smart living.
So how do the pros and cons of Smart Home systems balance out? Smart Homes are a good idea, and can provide a crucial lifeline for those with limited mobility. And if you’re rich and looking for the next technological wonder to throw money at, then a Smart Home system might be the thing for you. But in the meantime, locking the front door with a key that goes straight into my pocket seems preferable to leaving it to technology that yields to the expertise of a cybercriminal.