Change is the law of nature. This is true to such an extent that change is perhaps, the only constant that we may witness during the entire length of our short lived human existence. Which is why we can never be sure of any particular occurrence or tie our hopes to the definite possibility of some happening. Change is perhaps the single underlying rationale as to why certain things do not work out.
Something similar happened with the buzz phenomena of home automation or as we so trendily termed it, the Smart Home revolution. It started with a basket full of hopes and excitement and then turned out to be a not so rewarding venture in the long-term. Like many great ideas, a large volume of the cheer and pomp related to it has fizzled out and is heading for a silent crash.
Take, for example, a family of seven in Wisconsin, who decided to automate their entire mansion with audio/video and sound enhancement paraphernalia. It started as a simple harmless experiment aimed at increasing the tech-savviness of their dwelling. But alas! It was not to be. The entire system was shoddily assembled. Bits and pieces grabbed from here and there. The installation firm did the very least and worst that they could and walked away. It was only when the system began to break apart and to such an extent, that one was afraid to even turn a knob on the woofer, that they decided to leave the darned giant alone and switched back to their iPods and earphones and Walkman combos. After all, the entire thing had cost them a fortune and getting it fixed would have broken their financial backs for the second time in less than a year.
This is not an isolated incident. Many such wasteful narratives have been registered all over the world. One might argue that this is the result of unprofessional work by technicians. But with a system this big, which has to be integrated seamlessly into the domestic layout of your house, the complexities are bound to be staggering.
Another addition to the home automation industry was recognized in the 20th century. Intercom telephones were all the rage back then, what with their utility to check on each and every family member without having to raise your voice or check individual rooms. Simply picking up and dialing a short code and you can have the reports for the entire household at your fingertips. Smooth, right? Well, not anymore. With the advent of social media and messaging apps combined with the smartphone revolution, communication has become a redundant feature in almost every walk of life. Every app comes bundled with a texting feature and data service based internet calls have made the traditional intercom obsolete in the modern world. In the technological era, calling kids to the dinner table is more of a text than a long and arduous telephone call.
Another drawback is these days is that the customer is compelled to choose one platform and stick with it for life. A number of brands come up with a number of devices day in and day out. Tech review geeks use gizmos and throw them out by the dozens even before the week is out. But in this era of constant and unfettered innovation, the absence of interconnectivity and the lack of capability to handle compatibility issues is in itself a recipe for self-destruction and loss of market share as well as consumer demographic.
The compulsion to choose Apple’s Homekit or Google’s Works with Nest has boggled the minds of the average consumer and sowed the seeds of rebellion in the hearts of well-read tech-savvy generation Y.
After all, what use is your wall projected digital morning planner if it does not know when the sun rises or can’t coordinate with the room temperature to adjust to ambient lighting conditions. As long as the makers of different smart home gizmos are not willing to play nice and open their doors to inter-organization operability, the case for universal home automation seems bleak, at best.
While innovation and coordination remain areas with lots of room for development, there are many who argue that the entire setup needs to be simplified. For the sake of promoting familiarity with the product, many critics express that the installation must be made easier to an extent where the intended user must be able to set it up on his own without the need for any external help or hindrance. The argument here is that a device is as good as obsolete if its installation requires more people than are intended to use it and defies all rationale behind home automation. This is not just the voice of people from technical backgrounds, people who actually sell houses are also well aware of the fact how important a good functioning smart home module is required. According to Real estate agent Toronto, a survey finds out that a proper functioning smart home module sells at the rate of 150% when compared to the ones who do not deliver what was promised.
And why not? Since the technology to make installation simpler is already here. They only need to fine tune it to match the dimensions of the product and the skill of the consumer.
As the human race evolves, so does the technology and science that just does not seem to have an end. Or is it man’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge which makes it so? Either way, technology is on a free roll and as soon as a device or gadget comes out of its packaging, the process of decay and obsolescence begins. The depreciation and degradation sets in before long and soon, something better, faster and funkier comes along which sends the old twiddle on its way to the grave.
The reason may be one of the following two:
- Up-gradation of infrastructure
- An inevitable movement in the time line of innovation.
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with the notion of integrating one’s home with all the creature comforts and tasteful illusions one can get their hands on. It is even desirable. After all, why else have we tasted the edge of novel scientific revelations if not for the functionality it provides in our daily struggles on this beautiful planet?
The only realization one must not let go of is the fact that everything is a part of a cycle of change. What seems beautiful today, might be old tomorrow. And so on. It is only the innate knowledge of this fact which can help us in keeping our existence rooted in reality and not allow our minds to be clouded by all this dazzle that surrounds us.