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Tech Trends in 2014: Brain Off. Technology On. Your Connected Home

Do you ever stop to think back on how much technology has increased your productivity in your lifetime?  When you think about the past, it’s natural to segue into the future.  I wonder how technology will impact my future.  With so much attention on Google buying Nest this month, it has made me think about what the home experience could look like in 2014.  For now, let’s just look at a simple scenario of how a typical Monday evening could go in your connected home…

After exhausting all your brainpower at work, you approach your front door and walk right in; manual locks are a thing of the past, thanks to home automation. Bluetooth BLE, or 4.1 in non-marketing terms, has enabled a “smarter” solution.  Simple recognition of your device unlocks your door.  For extra security, your phone vibrates in your pocket with a message.  Would you like to unlock your door?  Answer yes and it prompts you for a finger scan.  No passwords, no keys, far more difficult to break into (unless a world class hacker is willing to loiter right outside your door as they pick your lock). 

Walking into your home, the lights turn on as they detect your presence through your phone’s communication with the Bluetooth smart home automation system.  Because the system anticipated your arrival, your home is at a perfect 70 degrees – just the way you like it.  Had it been a Wednesday, your heat wouldn’t have kicked on for another two hours, as your connected home is aware of your Wednesday gym visits.  As you walk in, you realize you haven’t had to manually adjust your thermostat in over two years. Wow has it been that long?  Thank you, Nest.

As your throw your dinner in the oven and set the timer, it syncs automatically to your phone and the countdown begins. You walk into the living room and the TV has turned itself to Sports Center as you have it configured through your smart home entertainment system, which is wirelessly connected to your tablet and phone.  Just as you get comfortable a message comes through your TV, prompted by your phone, time to check on dinner.

After a delicious dinner and some time in front of the tube (hilarious we still call it that), you decide its time to head to bed.  As you walk into your room, your phone vibrates in your pocket once again. You pull it out and it prompts you “are you going to sleep?”  You press “yes” and the blinds drop while your phone reports the weather for tomorrow. Sweater weather again!  You go to sleep with no worries of not getting enough sleep, as your fitness watch will monitor your sleep and wake you up at the perfect moment closest to the preset time you originally told it you need to wake up on weekday morning.  The mastery of the use of an accelerometer is incredible and the trust you have in its accuracy speaks to the advancements in this technology.

Out of all of these technological advances come a lot of questions.  Is there a danger to being so dependent on devices?  (What if I lose my phone? Will the world stop turning?) Are we becoming less effective at managing our time? Are we destroying our ability to think logistically? Or does all the technology allow us to focus on more important advances and critical needs? 

I don’t think we actually have the answers to these questions just yet. Only time and technology will tell. In the meantime, I look forward to the conveniences of a connected home.

Nate Norman

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