I caught a glimpse of a new Acura commercial which drew attention to a new feature in their cars called GPS link & Solar-Sensing. It connects the car’s climate control with a Navigation system that continuously tracks the position of the sun; adjustments are made to the climate of either side of the cabin depending on the amount of exposure to direct sunlight. My first reaction was, “hey, that’s a pretty cool concept,” and my next was one that made me sound like my father: “it’s just one more thing that can break.” And really, is it so hard to lean forward and turn the knob yourself if things are getting a little too hot?
It’s easy to get carried away with technology. We see it in cars, we see it in cell phones, and we are starting to see it in homes, too. The potential for complex automation features in the homestead is huge, and homeowners with their hearts set on the futuristic should be mindful of the risk of going too far. It’s great to be able to turn off the back porch lights using a laptop on the other side of the country, but that ability should never make obsolete the “old-fashioned” light switch with which to perform the same act by hand.
Tales of intricately integrated “smart” homes are more prevalent and less astounding. Here’s a smart home outside of Richmond, VA, that has many of the bells and whistles we now associate with a tech-savvy home. I found the last sentence the most poignant – in the event of a glitch in system, the homeowners will “just call the guy.” Sounds like a simple solution, but I’d hate to be at the mercy of my Integrator (or Home Technology Contractor), sitting on my sofa bemoaning a crashed system, slow response time, and my dependence on a technology that I will never fully understand and cannot easily fix on my own.