Are Smart Homes Really a Smart Idea??
Mahadev Desai is the Founder and CEO of gharpedia.com and SDCPL a leading design consultancy firm having strong national presence. He has a degree in Civil Engineering (BE) and Law (LLB) and has rich experience of 45 years. Besides being the Editor in Chief, he also mentors team at GharPedia. He is associated with many professional bodies. He is also co-founder of 1mnt.in the first in Industry software for contractors’ billing. He is a voracious reader, edited 4 books, and pioneer of book reading movement in Gujarat, India.
We all want to make our homes extremely smart and safe for our loved ones. Homes can be both smart and safe with the help of technology and supporting apps for better lifestyle only you need to know the best use of these technologies. Let’s assume that your house may be huge in size and is spread on a sprawling land, but somehow it lacks the digital smartness. Suppose, you are working parents and your 12-year-old arrives at 3pm from the school and is alone at home till you are back. The decision to install home automation system including every safety and security measures is surely something you just cannot overlook. Moreover if your aged parents are with you and they have to accommodate themselves in a huge house, you will surely need some safety features to ensure their safety and comfort! However, these are only a few instances where the need is pressing. There can be more similar or more pressing situations too were smart technology may come really handy.
The good news is that people are increasingly becoming aware and are accepting new technologies to become more controlled and digitally organized in their life. Many devices are slowly entering the homes of people, and people have started believing that investing in the idea of a smart home is surely a smart and wise idea. The rate at which these smart houses are increasing in number, it implies that people nowadays not only rely on technology and digital functionalities of these upgraded devices, also they try their level best to understand and accommodate these smarter devices to make their life easy going, safe, and well organized, and ultimately cost efficient.
The boom in the smart homes technology is now reciprocated by biggies like Google and Apple via the smart use of Artificial Intelligence. You have been playing with a whole new set of words like “home management system”, “home automation system” but smart homes is a new chip of the block. So what makes a home smart? Is it just the switching on and off a light bulb with a device or is it more beyond that?
Why is Your House Smart?
Remember a house is not smart by its own virtue, but the machines make them. In a further close view, machines are not smart, it is the humans who configured them smart. Machines perform as instructed but some machines are counted smart, when they can do the following:
- Does the machine acclimatize the house to a customized setting?
- Is there a possibility to install a smart system with this machine to add robotic convenience in the setting of the house?
- Is there a system by which the machines can gauge logic in their proceedings?
These are some relevant questions but you need to understand that the inherent demand of these arrangements can do something irrelevant if the users fail to understand its functionality as well as the limitation of the functionalities. Every house has a separate set of needs and the technology installed here should be used and twisted following the inbuilt potential of the installed device. Hence, to make the house smart according to your need, you must have proper planning and a successful execution of the advanced arrangements (testing is essential) to provide better coordination between the home, the proposed solution, and the solution provider.
Also we should remember that these new technologies are not to be adopted with go-per-room-concept wherein you get those devices relevant only to a specific room or an area. We suggest you to go for a whole system, something like a KNX (It is a technology, which controls the automation of integral functions of any residential, commercial or industrial building such as HVAC, lighting systems, security, etc.) which will holistically deal with the problem and which has the main system through which its sublets can be regulated. Your home can never be the smart enough if you have to take the pain of controlling every device individually. So put your money wisely.
Are Smart Homes a Smart Idea?
To cut the long story short, we have to understand that smart homes are facilitated with a collection of devices that collects data and saves it on the cloud or its local server and uses the data to make decisions for further use. The primary motivation beyond installing such smart devices is to increase the sense of comfort and security and it functions as robotic support for the members who are physically challenged. Be assured that installing them in your house is a smart idea because newer smart technologies will enable data storage and help you in quick decision making. Not just that, they will even start interacting with other devices to make sense. Currently, many devices can interact with other smart devices to make the right call in certain situations.
The smart irrigation controller will interact with the Hydrawise unit which uses weather data from a reliable weather service company to understand if it will be raining. It then acts accordingly for processing a command to water the garden based on that data and using Predictive analysis.
Smart devices are more than the hardware installed. They are called smart because of smart human interface. Usually, these come in the forms of apps but now many developers and manufacturers are taking their efficiency one step further. Amazon Echo uses the Alexa interface that not just speaks to you but also allows us to give voice commands to eliminate the use of a mobile device with complicated keyboards to get your work done. Google and Apple also follow suit with their Google Assistant and SIRI.
Issues with Smart Ideas in a Smart Home System
However, there always are two sides of a coin, and there are some flipsides of this smart home technology too. Let us discuss them one by one.
01. Too Complex: If these devices refuse to work, getting them back to work can be a Herculean task. If you are not technology-friendly and are not apt to learn new things almost every day, this new experience may invite only hazard for you.
02. Network Connectivity: Since the entire smart home system works on the internet and networking, any dropout will fail the entire system. This is very critical in developing countries where both network and power infrastructure suffers from consistency.
03. Increases Dependency: It is really not a good idea to get accustomed to the system entirely because any technical issue might put you in bad condition.
04. Data in the Public Domain: The data collected on cloud go into the public domain which sometime can make it unsafe and vulnerable. You will never come to know if they are misused and it has become a big threat to your privacy.
05. Expensive: The setting can prove to be an expensive affair because it will use significant amount of energy thereby will come out as an expensive option, which at the same time can be less sustainable too.
06. Technology Keeps on Changing: The technology keep changing. The personal computer with which you started your carrier 10 years ago, or a mobile which you used 5 years ago, now looks different, and may seem unproductive and somehow useless. Even these old devices are not supported by repair and maintenance. If you get solely dependent on these ultra-new technologies, you have to keep spending more to keep these latest devices always updated and the best synchronized.
However, you cannot afford to be outdated and live life like the legendary Rip Van Winkle. Hence, despite these issues, there is a lot that these smart devices can do to revolutionize your house. You home will become smarter if you make these smart technologies a part of your home. Do not let any past stereotypical thinking misguide your choice. You have to remember that it is your house that you are investing in and no investment can be wrong if it is taken for the benefit of it. After all, life is a journey where it is important to learn new things every day, else you may become stale and outdated.
If you are planning to make your house smart, you must read below mentioned articles:
Sangeetha Rathore wouldn’t call herself an author, but a curator of words to make a difference in the lives of people. She began her writing voyage by penning delicately crafted articles on parenting and life. Over the years, she has evolved into a story teller, with many works published on leading websites. An alumina of prestigious Stella Maris in Chennai, she dreams to make big with a pragmatic approach, and envisions her stories on the big screen one day soon!