Imagine waking up in the morning to an alarm that shuts off when it senses you’ve gotten out of bed, it slowly turns up the lights and cracks the curtains. The heat in the bathroom turns on automatically, anticipating your next move to shower. The coffee pot turns itself on and you get weather and news updates on a feed that begins when you step into the shower.
While you eat breakfast, your refrigerator tells you which ingredients you need for dinner, and when to buy milk (the current jug is almost expired).
When you leave the driveway, your house will automatically go into energy saving and high security mode.
The amazing thing about this scenario, is that all the technology already exists. Some apps and devices have been around for decades, and others are brand new. The idea of a “smart home” or connected home has been around since the Jetsons were watching TV on their watch. And it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that 2016 will be the year the connected home becomes a reality for the average American.
Problem #1: Technology is too complicated
More headaches than solutionsThe problem with the corporate rush to create the connected home, is that many of the devices designed to make life easier are impossible to set up. They constantly crash and need weekly updates. Some have poorly designed apps that are slow and awkward to use, and cause more headaches than solutions. Worst of all, managing separate apps that control each individual device doesn’t make anything simpler. Having a dozen apps that don’t work together and don’t talk to each other is unmanageable.
InterconnectivityLuckily, now that most of the functional technology has been created, companies are joining forces to create the network that allows different products to “talk to each other” rather than just creating a single product that does something innovative but not very useful. This interconnectivity is the key to making the connected home a reality.
Problem #2: Technology is an eye sore
Digital WorldAs we make the switch to a digital world, we’ve started storing our lives in “the cloud”. Some people worry we’re losing our personality in the process. Our homes with quirky bookshelves and mantels filled with family photos are being replaced with data storage units and flat screens.
Increased AestheticBut as new products are being created for the connected home, we’ve seen a surge of creativity in product design. Our devices are no longer ugly plastic beasts that are hidden in closets and cupboards, many are slim and beautiful conversation pieces.
Just functionality doesn't cut it anymoreThe new emerging innovators are not just engineers. They are designer / technologists / manufacturers. The companies who are leading the connected home movement equally consider the aesthetic of their technology and it’s place in the home.
New ProductsGorgeous home technology products were introduced this year by Refinery29 (an online design company), Nest, and Amazon with their sleek Alexa. Even LG’s new Security System could be mistaken for a minimalist art sculpture.
PebblebeeIt’s that challenge that inspired our team at Pebblebee to create a beautifully simple product that connects you to your home. We can see the future of the smart home, just beyond the current frustrations of stand alone technology that you’re trying to hide in your home.
The StoneOur Stone is the best example of a smart button that allows you to control dozens of controls throughout your home with the touch of a button. Dim the lights, turn on music, adjust the temperature, start brewing coffee from bed, and arm your security system - all from a single smart button that looks beautiful and connects to every smart system.