The Stupid Side of Smart Homes

smart lock

I recently saw a quote from someone in the home automation industry that criticized the direction that home automation has taken and it got me wondering if smart homes might actually be…stupid. Here are a few questions I asked myself:

Are we distracted by the little things?

We’re busy connecting our coffeemakers, and other simple on/off devices, instead of developing technology that offers true, contextual AI software. We think more about getting instant gratification, even if that means a less intelligent product. I know that there are developers working on AI, but what if all the developers worked on AI, instead of working on automating our coffee pots. All the smart home tech that we use now is a means to an end, and that end is AI. I’d rather go without the convenience of smart tech for a few years if it means getting AI sooner.

The other side of this argument is that all of these small things are lessons in development, and teach us a little bit more about what the future could look like. Successes, as well as failures, could lead to the development of the key piece of tech that is needed to advance smart tech to AI.

Are we making relatively easy tasks severely complicated?

Researching, purchasing, installing, setting up – these are the main tasks that are involved with getting your home online and “smart.” If you’re like me, you can also add in some time hacking and rebuilding, or multiple the installation and setup time for a DIYer. When you calculate all the time you spend getting your smart locks working, you could start to wonder if you took a super simple task, and made it hard. You probably spent more time setting up your smart locks then time you would have spent just manually locking and unlocking your doors.

Are we trying to connect devices to a super-charged network that doesn’t yet exist?
The testing and inevitable launch of 5G has been in the news lately, but it is still a few years from public consumption. This really just puts the spotlight on the fact that we DON’T have these super-charged speeds available yet. We are trying to make everything faster and stronger, but the supporting tech just doesn’t exist yet. Our expectations exceed the limits that we currently face; we can only do so much until our network speeds catch up.

Are we just creating more problems?

There are a lot of genuine problems with home tech that exist, but we seem to get a lot of new products that introduce problems we never had, and the solution for that problem. This is the thorn in everyone’s side when it comes to smart home tech. That is where naysayers, or simple skeptics like myself, come in. A little bit of moaning and groaning can go a long way toward keeping the big tech companies moving toward the bigger picture, instead of launching products just to make a buck.

Photo by: Scott Lewis

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Jeff is a tinkerer. He loves gadgets, but usually waits until the reviews are out before buying something. He loves the DIY projects, and loves help setting things up too. Some of his favorite products and services may not be the most well known, but he loves his custom solution.