Skip to main content

The Connected Home

Tech companies have been talking for years about the so-called connected home, in which home appliances and accessories connect to the Internet. Judging from Christmas with my family — as well as the news expected at the International Consumer Electronics Show next week — this year it might become a reality.

The most popular example has been a fridge that sends a text message when the milk is running low. Some home builders imagine building a connected home from the ground up. But most consumers and suppliers are starting by connecting smaller devices that use smartphones as a remote control, said Frank E. Gillett, an analyst at Forrester.
My mother received Hue lightbulbs, for instance, made by Philips and controllable with her iPhone. She can set custom lighting for ambience in the dining room, turn lights on or off remotely, and set lights to slowly brighten in the morning.
My father received a Nest Protect smoke alarm, which sends his phone messages if it senses smoke or has low batteries. He planned to install it near the kitchen, because if it senses smoke from cooking, it speaks with a human voice before sounding a loud alarm and can be silenced with a wave. He can connect it to his Nest Thermostat, which will automatically turn off the gas furnace if there is a carbon monoxide leak.


The devices join my parents’ Withings scale and Bose music system, controllable with a smartphone.
The connected home is still more popular with classic early adopters than with mainstream consumers, according to Forrester. Just 1 or 2 percent of people have connected devices to control lighting, climate, energy, appliances and home monitoring, Forrester found. About a third say they are interested in connecting their homes, but almost half say they are not interested.
“I think we’re at the beginning of the industry hype cycle but not at the beginning of mainstream consumer adoption,” Mr. Gillett said.
The most popular connected home device is security systems, according to Forrester.
There are also electronic door locks (people can give a repair person an electronic key that expires that night or receive an alert when someone enters), garage door openers, cameras like Dropcam for baby or pet monitoring, weather stations for vacation homes, sensors like those made by Lively for monitoring the activity and health of elderly people, and aconnected egg tray so people know if they need to buy new eggs.
Companies like Revolv and SmartThings create apps to tie different connected devices together and control a home from a single app.
“Most consumers aren’t proactively saying, ‘I want X,’” Mr. Gillett said. “This is one of those things where it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, I can get that? Great.’”

Popular posts from this blog

Beware of Wombats & Other Vampires

You are surrounded by dangerous WOMBATS. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they hide in plain sight, easy to spot. Other times they are well camouflaged, requiring heightened awareness to identify them. You need to stay alert, it’s important to avoid them. WOMBATs resemble ordinary, productive tasks. However, they are vampires for time and resources, weapons of mass distraction.WOMBATs are seductive. Working on a WOMBAT feels productive.WOMBATs are bad for your career.WOMBATs are bad for your business.WOMBATs infiltrate your work day (and your personal time). Strike them down.WOMBATs may be be ingrained in your company culture: “We’ve always done it that way…” WOMBAT Metamorphosis Alert: A task or project that wasproductive in the pastcanevolve into a WOMBAT in today's environment.Your comfort zone is populated with WOMBATs.More on comfort zones, here.Some people are WOMBATs in disguise. Stay away from them, they are vampire WOMBATs.If you don’t control your WOMBATs, your WOMBATs will…

Taking Tips From a Younger Generation

Phyllis Korkki, an assignment editor at The New York Times, visited the garment district in Manhattan to interview designers as part of a story for the newspaper’s Snapchat account. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times
What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty.

How on earth did I become an “older worker?”

It was only a few years ago, it seems, that I set out to climb the ladder in my chosen field. That field happens to be journalism, but it shares many attributes with countless other workplaces. For instance, back when I was one of the youngest people in the room, I was helped by experienced elders who taught me the ropes.

Now, shockingly, I’m one of the elders. And I’ve watched my industry undergo significant change. That’s why I recently went searching for a young mentor — yes, a younger colleague to mentor me.

How Randa and the Fashion Industry are Adapting to DIY

The term 'Do It Yourself' has turned into a phenomenon over the past decade and is continuing to gain momentum, especially in the fashion industry. From interactive design stations at Topshop, to custom shoes at Jimmy Choo, every level of the fashion industry is dipping their toes into the pools of DIY.

"Many industry insiders think it is just the beginning. Ask about the future of fashion, and the answer that is likely to come back (along with the importance of Instagram and the transformation of shows into entertainment) is personalization," says Vanessa Friedman from the New York Times.