Wireless Infrastructure

09:06 AM
Frank Gillett
Frank Gillett
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Internet Of Things Goes Home

The "connected home" is becoming a reality thanks to improved broadband networks and mobile apps. Here's a rundown of how our homes are getting smarter.

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User Rank: Strategist
4/10/2014 | 11:28:20 AM
Re: Smart isn't enough
The real barrier to adoption with smarthomes I'm finding is that the learning curve for most consumers is quite high.  Personally, my smarthome build is limited to a media centre, but that alone brings several points of failure if someone who isn't as tech-savvy is trying to use it.  That being said, there is a lot to be said for full integration with smartphones and tablets acting as all-in-one remotes to control a multitude of household functions.  Will we see cost savings from this?  Perhaps, if it can be automated enough in that the system learns based on usage when it makes sense to power on and off, much like Nest who learns based on usage when residents will be home vs. not in order to cut energy costs.  It's about the evolution of the back-end AI as opposed to how the front end works that will really drive significant advantages aside from the convenience these smart devices bring.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/9/2014 | 9:12:03 PM
Re: Smart isn't enough
Agreed, Thomas. Right now, this area is mostly building blocks, not consumer-ready solutions. Supermechanical's approach with Twine, at least back in 2011 when we launched it, has been that building blocks are right for a market that doesn't yet know what the useful solution would be - much as how it took both the Apple ][ and a host of third parties to lead to more integrated computers. We have learned about specific things that people do with Twine, that are worth exploring further, but as you say, installation of things you rarely replace is not ideal. That's why we focused on making something that is completely self-contained - batteries and WiFi. For a while yet, I think there will be smart 'appendages' to appliances that offer a gentler introduction and yet bring much of the benefit of giving your appliances a voice on the Internet.

That said, I hear from people who saved themselves thousands or tens of thousands of dollars from pipes bursting during this winter's polar vortex, or spent that much and said they wish they'd had a Twine to warn them when they were out. Peace of mind is worth something, too.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2014 | 6:53:40 PM
Smart isn't enough
Smart appliances ought to be a lot more useful. For example, having data about energy consumption isn't all that helpful if the implied course of action is tearing out the walls to apply insulation at great expense -- acting on the information is a pain. Moreover, preparation cost exceeds the likelihood of the event, as in the case of installing a sensor to check for a floored basement. If there's any real cost involved, you're better off not doing anything since chances are your pipes won't burst.
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