Your Future Home – A Home of the Future?

By Steve Jamski

If ten years ago someone said that a pocket-size, battery-powered device would soon be your phone, TV, wallet, GPS and gaming station — and essentially, your life –would you have believed them? There couldn’t be a more dramatic advance in how we live, right?

Skeptics beware. Something was invented that continues to revolutionize how we conduct our daily lives: The Internet. Our phones are connected to it. Our cars, home appliances and HVAC systems are getting connected. We use Internet-enabled apps to adjust security systems and thermostats from anywhere in the world that has a decent signal.

While the current level of connectivity is impressive, the real “wow” will happen when devices are connected to each other and start working together — the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT.) Analysis of the data that’s captured will lead to insights and feedback that can make those same devices smarter and more helpful.

In fact, the Internet of Things may soon have your home experience looking something like this:

Your car dropped you off at your condo the night before and left to find a parking spot. No worries. Bluetooth beacons built into roads and parking meters had guided the car to available spaces. Then, the car transmitted payment automatically to the meter.

Tonight you feel like meeting friends for dinner so you tell your electronic butler to summon your car. Before the car leaves the parking space, it asks if you want it to pick up the groceries your refrigerator ordered. You answer “yes” so the car tells the store to have the order ready to put in the car in 10 minutes.

When the car arrives at your place, it sends an alert to you and your doorman. The doorman delivers the groceries to your door. You tip him and head to the car. The door to your unit locks and the alarm is set because your smart connections know you’re leaving for the evening.

If this sounds far-fetched, it’s really not. Electronic butlers are here and being used, though still early in adoption. Nearly every major carmaker is creating autonomous passenger cars, and some are being on-road tested. Many real estate developers are planning new technology into their developments that will enable residents to use autonomous cars. Advances in cloud computing are making it possible to analyze the quintillions of bytes of data that devices are generating – yes, quintillions –in order to understand, predict and even prevent behaviors, events and outcomes.

A lot to ponder, eh?

It’s understandable if all this talk of change feels a little uncomfortable — I mean, electronic butlers and autonomous cars that know us better than we know ourselves? Then, I remind myself that in 2007 I was sure I’d never want or need a smart phone. So, there’s a good chance we’ll soon be wondering how we ever lived without our homes of the future.