Embedded Intelligence: Why the Smart Home Isn’t Smart
If the smart home market were a television episode, any discussion of the consumer experience would begin with something like: “Imagine, if you will, an average home, where everything chirps, beeps, and blinks. Where every appliance can communicate, and where everything wants to talk to you. And, though each device has something to say, each talks a different language. You haven’t achieved utopia; you’ve entered a technological dimension we call the Twilight Zone.”
The smart home is not quite this strange; yet, it does have some similarities to a Twilight Zone episode. The consumer market is increasingly filled with appliances that purport to be “smart,” and many of which come with their own app to run on a smartphone. Each app has a different user interface, and each one has different conventions. There are now smart TVs, smart thermostats, smart home security systems, smart light bulbs, smart washers and dryers, even smart toasters, toothbrushes and forks. It can be assumed that the average home also has smart tablets, smart desktop PCs and smart laptops. This doesn’t even count personal smart devices. A technologically savvy consumer might be carrying a smartphone, a smart watch, possibly a fitbit, and may drive a car with a smart entertainment system. All of these devices either run apps or interface with them. The Tower of Babble had nothing on the modern smart home.
The fact of the matter is that the smart home is not smart. Smart comes with intelligence: that is, the ability to make some sense of all the smart things in the house that are increasingly shrieking for attention in the data domain. The connected home seeks to address this digital mob scene with applications that transcend the level of data, in order to provide the consumer with a holistic view of the Internet of Things that increasingly characterizes the modern home.
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