A Smart Home.
For a long time nothing major has changed in the infrastructure of our homes. But more and more companies focus on creating smart homes: houses with a full-integrated system of automation, sustainable use of materials, optimal living conditions and energy saving measures. Devices and appliances can be linked together and communicate with each other and you.
And the possibilities are endless. Examples are: an integrated dock on your desk to easily facilitate a workstation; a screen above your sink with information updates on topics like appointments or weather forecasts; a screen integrated in the kitchen to instantly order groceries or search for recipes; a doorbell allowing access via fingerprint, key, smartcard or registered guest list.
Only 2 days ago ‘Relay’ was launched by Wink, one of the companies focusing on enabling smart homes. Relay looks like a light switch, but can do so much more. Besides turning the lights on and off, it ‘can lock your front door, bring the blinds down, turn on an alarm, cool the thermostat’.
So okay, it can help to optimize the sustainable use of energy and clearly increases the comfort and quality of your living conditions. But, there is more to this luxury lifestyle. It can also be put to use in supporting elderly to continue to live in their houses for a much longer time, reducing the massive demand for nursing homes. And the technology can be further developed towards further assist in the care for elderly, lowering the pressure on the healthcare system.
The Smart Home is maturing into a full-blown consumer trend, with expected sales of automation systems up to €9.5 billion by 2015 and €44 billion by 2017. However, up to this point there has been no universal home automation standard. Hence customers cannot yet buy a central hub that will integrate all components in a house, a necessary development to allow for communication amongst all devices and thus making your entire house smart.
Also having it integrated in the construction of houses like phone and cable plugs are is still a long way to go. Nonetheless, the developments continue and am quite curious to see how are houses will look and feel in another 20 years from now.