For many of us, smart home technology is about making our lives easier. We want smart locks so we don’t have to carry our keys when we go for a run or walk the dog; we want our lights to be on already when we get home from work; we want to save money with a smart thermostat; we like how automation helps us entertain; we like feeling cool.
For many others, though – wounded veterans, the disabled, the elderly – smart home technology is about improving the quality of life. The gadgets and devices that a lot of us use for fun are becoming a necessity for many.
Take these everyday tasks, for example, and imagine completing them without assistance if you are in a wheelchair, an amputee, blind, or have another disability:
- Using a regular bathroom mirror
- Locating a lost phone
- Cooking on a stove
- Flipping a light switch
- Changing the channel on your television
- Opening or closing a window or your blinds
- Turning on a floor fan
Smart home technology can become technology that assists, when properly developed. It can take a dire living situation and turn it into a functional, independent, empowering situation. Have you ever thought about smart home technology being used in this way? With some off the shelf products, some customization, and some creativity, those with limitations can become more independent and stop relying on constant (human) assistance.
A few years ago, smart home technology and the thought of integrated automation was still something that was only available for the rich and the elite. But, today, that same technology is affordable and accessible to the masses.
There are, however, some barriers that prevent the disabled from outfitting their homes with the latest smart technology:
While smart home technology might seem affordable to the average person, a person that is disabled likely already has more bills than most, and don’t have deep pockets. They might also need more advanced smart products; where one person can get away with making just their living room lights smart, a disabled person would have a need to upgrade all their lights.
There are some amazing charities out there that help with costs – and even some that cover all the costs – but there are so many more people that could benefit from smart home technology. Unfortunately, smart home technology is still seen as more of a novelty and is not covered by insurance companies.
You and I, obviously, are aware of smart home technology since we’re both on this blog, but it isn’t something that everyone is aware of. Even people that do know about it think it is too new to be useful, or something that is just for people that are tech savvy. Instead, it’s something that could help people live independently in their homes for longer, and not in assisted living.
For wounded veterans, their smart home technology needs aren’t one-size-fits-all. It can be difficult for products to be designed for them if they aren’t customized, but also difficult for the products to be customized.