I’ve always wanted to live in a Smart Home. Like, a really Smart Home. Occupancy sensors to control lights and temperature! Automated shades that open and close based on time of day! Cameras that keep tabs on our pets when we’re away! For years, these capabilities have existed, but the biggest barrier to entry in the Smart Home market was cost. In recent years, several products have come on the market that featured impressive capabilities coupled with a low cost of ownership. And then, in 2017, something truly magical happened. Amazon Alexa and Google Home reached critical mass among homeowners. And the Smart Home revolution kicked into high gear!
Now, by themselves the Amazon Echo and Google Home are decent assistants that have mediocre audio capabilities. They can tell us the weather, read us the news and tell us who starred as Sheriff Bart in Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” (it was Cleavon Little). But the remarkable thing about these devices is they have a relatively open ecosystem where other manufacturers can produce smart home devices that interoperate with Alexa and Google Home. From simple switches and dimmers, to thermostats, doorbells, cameras and much, much more.
So far, this is intriguing to most of us. “Hey, Google … What’s today’s weather?” is a useful command as you are getting ready to walk out the door in the morning. But imagine if today’s forecast carried a 60% chance of rain? “Hey, Google … set the sprinkler system to ‘off’.” would ensure you’re not wasting water during a rainstorm.
This is what separates the 1995 Smart Home from the 2018 Intelligent Home.