Smart home: the test of a couple

In an inspired article, a couple tells how they lived through a real nightmare due to wanting to connect as many of the objects in their flat as possible. The original idea was to make living better thanks to connected objects like the television screen, the bed, watches, computers, the coffee machine and the security camera, not to mention Amazon’s voice assistant to synchronise everything. In order to visualise the volume of data collected via the IoT they installed, the “smart guys” connected their geek neighbour on the spot and asked him to store the data via a connection to the communication centralising operator (the box that we all have at home). In effect, if the operator who  provides the internet connection can do it, it’s obvious that a person with the access codes to the box installed by the provider can do it too. We might ask ourselves about security but other concerns about the usefulness and privacy of the information transmitted are more eloquent.

The lessons learned by the two guinea pigs are extraordinary

In the first place, it is important to remember that to make all these connected objects work, it is necessary to download the Apps that control them and that, consequently, think themselves authorised to send us messages to either encourage or alert us, such as: “it’s time to get up” or “it’s not good for you to drink more than two coffees in the morning, be careful!”…

The first problem was synchronising everything, and then controlling it, by remote control or even inside the flat. If, for example, Alexa, doesn’t understand that when you say “Put on the Christmas lights”, you mean all the lights, then you will have to list them individually, which will convince you that getting up off the sofa to do it manually is easier. But what do you think about the possibility that your connected bed, deducting from your body’s movements at around 7.00 a.m. that you are waking up, can tell your coffee machine to make coffee for you? That would make your bed smarter, wouldn’t it?

Alas, if it starts your coffee machine at 4:00 a.m., following your urge to open the window to let some air into the room, it will be significantly less useful!

How to connect a house on the different habits of each

The second difficulty comes from the different use needs of different people living under the same roof. Imagine that the security camera is set because your life partner started it when they left for work in the morning, forgetting that you were off until noon, so you would have a recording transmitted to your box (and possibly nestling in the cloud) of you in your birthday suit. Amusing perhaps, but not very nice! And no better would be the camera that you have installed in your baby’s room and that starts flashing in the middle of the night to indicate a temporary deactivation (following an update of the box, for example), waking up the child and the house at the same time.

Will connected objects improve our daily lives?

Believing that connected objects will improve our daily lives at home is still fantasy, as communication and data transmission systems are not very compatible and difficult to make work together. You still need to teach them what really interests you, and not just what the most common habits are. Do we really need them to know how to live?