The 1989 film, Back to the Future Part II, quite accurately predicted the emergence of some of the technologies that we use today. For example, in one of the scenes in the film, we see how aged Marty McFly takes a video call from his boss. Twenty-eight years ago, when this motion picture was released, video conferencing technology was only a distant prospect.
Another fantastic technology that resonated with viewers—smart home technology—has also ceased to be only fiction. Today, the smart house is a reality, and the reality is quite affordable.Therefore, we can now objectively assess the positive and negative aspects of this technology. Both advantages and disadvantages exist in abundance.
Advantages of a Smart Home
Smart home appliances can minimize or even prevent damage to property. For example, the installation of a smart thermostat allows us to not only comfortably control the temperature but also warn us in advance about freezing pipes in the event of a heating system failure. A smart moisture detector can detect a water leak and warn you about it before it ruins your floor or floods the neighbors downstairs. A device like a smart smoke detector or carbon dioxide detector could one day save your home from a fire and you from death.
Smart home devices are useful and possibly even necessary for older people or people with disabilities. For example, smart locks that recognize the owner by voice, iris scan, or touch, relieve the user from the need to use keys. Many smart home devices automate routine processes and adjust to the user’s habits. The simplest example is the light bulb, which is switched off by voice command or at a customary time, eliminating the need to use the switch. The modern smart house provides additional security measures that go far beyond standard CCTV. For example, the user can remotely control locks or block the doors of individual rooms.
Another advantage of a smart home is the economics. Although installation can be expensive, the devices allow more rational management of energy. For example, a smart thermostat allows you to avoid heating an unused room.
Analysts believe that the most popular home smart device in the next five years will be a smart thermostat. Heat is expensive in most countries in the northern hemisphere. The smart thermostat learns to adapt to the user’s habits. For example, when it detects you have gone to bed, it can lower the temperature. It also can allow the room to cool when you leave and warm it up upon your return. So less energy is wasted.
Disadvantages of a Smart Home
Of course, the technology of a smart home is not without its shortcomings. Perhaps in the near future, the situation will change for the better, but so far the main problem with technology is compatibility. A smart house is not a single, off-the-shelf product, but a collection of many devices. On one hand, it allows the user to create unique configurations for their own needs. On the other hand, this causes inevitable problems with compatibility. If you use multiple devices from different manufacturers, it can be very difficult to get them to work together. This problem will be solved only if the manufacturers of smart gadgets agree on certain universal standards. The standardization of smart home devices has yet to be realized.
The second drawback of a modern smart home is its price. As we said above, a smart house helps to save, but it also costs a lot. The average price of a single device, such as a smart thermostat, is a couple hundred dollars. The smarter your home, the more electronics it would contain, and the more expensive it would be. It will more than a year or maybe many years before the home pays for itself in cost savings.
Finally, the third serious problem of a smart home is security. In 2015, an independent cybersecurity research company tested the sixteen most popular smart home gadgets. Only one of them was reliable enough that researchers could not break it. Today the smart house ecosystem has developed, mainly, by small start-ups. Such companies try to release as many innovative products as possible, but they often do not implement proper security measures. Perhaps, when large companies decide to compete, the situation will improve a bit, but until then the smart house will remain a very vulnerable structure.
Read the blog article When Will The House Become Really Smart?