Well, here we are. It used to be that your stuff worked against you – you leave the house with the lights on, or the kids set the thermostat to 90 degrees while you’re away. Now, you’re paying those bills.
Luckily,the light switch and thermostat have found a way to talk back.
Internet of things (the IoT) has been around for a little while and loosely means that we’re going to connect your things to the internet. The real question is what does this do for me and what’s the cost?
Pro: Remote Control: Did you leave all your lights on when you took that two week trip? Now with the hue by Phillips you can still turn them off. You can also remotely set alarms for your lights to turn back on, and even match the color of the light with any image you can find on the web. Pretty cool.
Con: Remote Control: Just because you always have your phone doesn’t mean it’s always the best option for controlling household appliances. Remember when you’re washing machine started acting up, and you could just move the dial and turn it off? You’ll miss those days when you have to unlock your phone, get to an app start screen, and then open your control panel. Maybe there was something to the light switch, I’ll take one button over seven any day. You can, of course, turn off the lights, physically, but that usually means taking your lights off of the IoT, defeating part of the usefulness. Thanks John Henry Holmes.
Pro: Saving Money: Nest adapts to the temp adjustments that you make throughout the day. It then uses that information to make predictions. After a while this leaves your rooms at better temps and can save you a ton on your energy bill (turn off the heat while you’re out or adjust it while you’re sleeping automatically).
Con: Technology that thinks it’s smarter than you: Okay it might know when to turn things off and on but the name of the game is user experience. Ultimately you know when you want those adjustments made. Predictive technology is convenient only when it’s guessing correctly. So how accurate is it really? The second gen Nest does a very good job and even modifies it’s approach based on your heating units, but like any predictive technology it’s relying on past performance, which isn’t perfect.
It’s like the SEC always says “Past performance does not guarantee future results”. Happy hunting out there!
Ultimately, I have to love the idea of the internet of things – automating our lives so we can worry about more important things, like which shade of purple do I want my hallway to be this easter, rather than, where am I going to find a fuschia light bulb at this hour? That said, don’t go blindly into the world of complete connectivity. Instead, consider the potential complications, and have an idea of how to get by if something fails.
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