Last month, I touched on the topic of smart homes and smart buildings, and it got me to thinking about the new world of IoT (internet of things) and how our cars have gotten very smart and well-integrated, whereas our homes are another story.
Yes, there are all sorts of systems and hardware to accomplish this, both professionally installed and DIY. You have Control4, which I mentioned previously, and then you have all the initiatives by Cox Communications, Vivint, Amazon, Google, Apple and so on.
By the end of 2020, there will be 51.2 million connected (smart) homes in the United States. Compare that with an estimated 169 million connected automobiles by 2022, giving us three times more smart cars than homes. This does not make sense and has been a subject I have spoken to since I introduced smart homes to builders in the Pacific Northwest in the late 80s.
Before I continue with today’s topic, I wanted to circle back on the terminology I referenced earlier, IoT (internet of things). I do not want to leave you in the dark or wondering what the heck I am talking about. IoT refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.
The possibilities are endless. A “thing” can refer to a connected medical device, a biochip transponder (think livestock), a solar panel, a connected automobile with sensors that alert the driver to a myriad of possible issues (fuel, tire pressure, needed maintenance and more) or any object, outfitted with sensors, that has the ability to gather and transfer data over a network.
The smart home began in 1972 with the introduction of X10 powerline carrier control products. The smart car came into being in 1996 with the introduction of OnStar. So even with a 24-year head start, smart homes have nowhere near the acceptance or market penetration as smart cars.
Some 20 years ago, I reached out to OnStar when I was working with a company called GE Smart to discuss the potential of introducing an OnStar Home program. The problem was that these were car guys, and they were stuck in their own universe and did not see the value. I thought they were shortsighted back then, and I still do.
Wouldn’t it be nice if when you came home after dark, the lights came on automatically? Wouldn’t it be nice if a “check home” light came on to let you know a system required attention? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could push a button and ask for help?
I think the answer to my question – Is your house as smart as your car? – will typically be a resounding “no.” I am here to say that it does not have to be. Simply look at what you like about your car and take some time to surf the internet, ask a friend or give me a shout to talk about how you can make your home smarter.
If you have a question about technology, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give me a call at (805) 684-3414. I love talking tek.