Smarter homes can conserve energy, do dirty jobs, and remind you to take your medicine. In doing all these things, smart homes can also collect data about what you do inside every single room of that home. The fast convergence of Wi-Fi and sensors are laying the foundation for the Internet of Things, where objects embedded with sensors do things they’re specially designed to do, and collect information while doing them.
This begs the questions: what do you want to know about yourself and your family? How much do you want to know? And, with whom do you want to share these seemingly mundane details? Taken together, these data points can paint a picture of ‘you’ and your daily life.
Last week at CE Week , I learned more about various companies’ strategic commitments and growth strategies in the Internet of Things microeconomy: Samsung’s smart appliances, Honeywell’s home energy grids, Intel Labs’ robots, and dozens of other mature and start-up companies are all planning to support not only the “connected home,” but the “interactive home.”
TIME magazine covered this top in its June 26th 2014 issue, including a brief article titled Which Company Will Control Your Home? Some of these companies include:
- Communications companies Verizon, Comcast, AT&T
- Startups, like SmartThings and Revolv, and
- “Wild Cards,” including security companies (ADT and Vivint among them), appliance manufacturers (LG, Samsung, Whirlpool), and retailers such as Lowes, Staples (Connect), and BestBuy.
Combined with personal wearable tech — whether for digital health, or for general information retrieval via smartwatches — the Internet of Things is making our homes smarter along with our personal internet clouds on-the-go more informed about our moves.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: The upsides of smarter homes are innumerable – helping people stay at home as we age, enabling people to conduct tasks from afar (like watching Fido who’s home alone or turning on the air conditioning before you get home from work), and doing jobs we may not feel like doing, like the current line of iRobot products targets, or even a hands-free toilet from Kohler that is self-flushing. Marry health sensors to that toilet and you can test yourself for blood glucose in urine, digitally record that data and send it to your health coach like the Intelligence Toilet II from Daiwa House.
The New York Times published a story on UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, on June 28, 2014, titled When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop. This discusses how the $12 billion non-profit medical school enterprise in and beyond Pittsburgh has begun to use patient-generated data from internet use and retail spending to predict people (and patients’) behavior.
Homes are indeed getting smarter, as are the organizations with which we daily deal, from grocery stores to health plans. Google continues to gather data about us via online search, Apple grows its connectedness beyond music toward health, and appliances ‘know’ about your food and laundry habits. Be careful what you wish for -THINK about just how Smart you want your home to be.