On paper, smart homes definitely look and sound like the future. When you see smart homes that have been realized, they seem even more astounding, being fully integrated and offering an unprecedented quality of life. However, when you scratch a bit further, you discover a few things that make smart homes seem somewhat unrealistic and often unnecessary at the present time. Our goal is to take a closer look at this and try and figure out whether smart homes are definitely the way of the future.
Smart Homes and the Environment
Smart homes definitely come with some great ideas and perhaps the greatest of them is that of a home that does not waste resources and that is as energy efficient as possible. This is achieved through the use of only the most modern materials and technologies which are developed to conserve energy and water, for a start. With a smart home, you will never waste electricity on your A/C. In this sense, smart homes are definitely the future.
The Glitz and the Glamour
When we are talking the glitz and the glamour, we mean two things – we mean the lighting and the entertainment. Smart homes know how to do both. They are always designed so as to utilize as much of the natural light as possible and to feature artificial lighting that will be energy efficient and also gentle on the inhabitants. When we talk entertainment systems, smart homes really do seem like the future, with voice-activated everything, UHD screens, state-of-the-art audio systems and more.
When we are talking smart homes, we cannot avoid talking about home security, something that is very important to a lot of people. Those same people (and the others) will be glad to hear that smart homes truly do offer an unprecedented level of safety and security in one’s home. They employ only the latest in home-sec technology and the most important characteristic of such smart home security systems is that they are all integrated, easy to use and monitor and very difficult to circumvent. We are talking smart locks, video door phones, video surveillance and much, much more.
The Costs. Oh, the Costs.
Now, we come to the aspects of smart homes that we believe might hurt the future of these homes of the future. The first and probably the most prominent one is the price that needs to be paid in order to live in such a home. The costs of the materials and the technology incorporated in these homes are still out of reach for the vast majority of people. The costs are even greater if you are looking to redo your home so that it becomes a smart one. It will be quite some time before the Average Joe and Jane can afford one of these homes.
Every time a technological breakthrough is made, innumerable companies jump in to cash in on the craze. The same goes for smart homes. We are seeing a whole throng of companies, some very reputable and serious, coming out with completely and utterly useless and silly products such as appliances that do the whole internet of things thing. These are just a total waste of money and time and we are just scared that they will become an inseparable part of smart homes.
Finally, there is the matter of vulnerability of smart homes. When every system in the home works on electricity, every power outage can mean a catastrophe, especially if the systems are installed without backup systems. For example, imagine all of your lock unlocking because the power went out, or not being able to heat the home for the same reason. In addition to this, smart homes will most likely be very vulnerable to cyber-attacks which will definitely be part of the future.
All in All
In short, there is a lot to be liked when smart homes are in question – the fact that they are energy efficient and offer increased security. Still, the costs will have to go way down before an average household will be able to afford one of those. When that happens, they will also need to be careful not to clutter their everyday life with unnecessary and potentially vulnerable systems.
About the author: James D. Burbank is a marketing professional with great interest in home design and architecture. He got advice on smart home security from a company that sells access cards that was invaluable for this article.