Our homes are getting clever and this, to us, has major implications over the coming years. Both in terms of being very, very useful and also great fun! Just imagine what it’s going to be like….. not too mention every day devices or ‘things’ are also gaining intelligence. Not quite Skynet yet, but it’s starting…..
Firstly, how clever are our homes right now?
Alan Dalgairns wrote a guest post last year looking at green technology in the home, and it seems like this is becoming much more common place. British Gas have something called their Smart Energy Tariff which means:
- No estimated bills
- They think you could save up to £150
- A free electricity monitor
Having started using the monitor it is quite staggering to see just how much energy is being consumed, and most importantly by what. The main culprits being, the toaster, microwave and of course the tumble dryer. Lights, a big Mac rig, and the dishwasher use very small amounts.
What is missing from the British Gas monitor is a good design (it looks pretty mundane), and critically, a software interface. This is where we have high hopes for the Onzo, and have been promised a review device. Watch this space.
Green Goose is a company which is just about to launch a bicycle commute kit:
“It’s just for your bicycle to get started. The Kit includes a Green Gateway and a Bike sensor. You’ll need to have a broadband connection and a spare Ethernet port on your router or hub, at home or your office. The Green Gateway just plugs in with the included Ethernet cable and power supply. No configuration required. The Bike sensor clips on to the hub of your bicycle. Just be sure that you can park your bike within 300 feet of the Green Gateway.”
We think this is a clever way of getting people to track their savings, and there is the ability to compete against friends too. It’s in the US only right now, and they are actively encouraging employers to get involved, but… it just seems to be a nice to have rather than an out and out necessity.
Utility monitoring is only touching the surface when we talk about clever devices and an intelligent home. Here are a few more things that have caught our eye in the past week or so:
Touchatag looks like you will be able to add tags to items to make them interactive with your phone, and do specified actions.
Pachube looks very clever too:
“Store, share & discover realtime sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world. Pachube is a convenient, secure & scalable platform that helps you connect to & build the ‘internet of things’.”
They even have an iPhone app which allows you to connect to the sensor you have setup. We can see this kind of thing exploding in the near future as more and more items contain this kind of technology.
Having been thinking about this, what we would like to see is;
- A generic system that is taken onboard by the majority of manufacturers so that there is a unified standard – much easier to use and means better integration
- Simple setup and understanding – key outputs displayed in a useful and elegant manner
- Fridge systems to alert you to buy more milk etc (we’ve seen these somewhere before but is there anyone actually doing this now?)
- Better security systems – whatever people say, it is still a major hassle to setup any sort of cameras involving wifi
- A really nice light control system with a web-app and iPhone app to control everything
Over to you
The sky really is the limit and the ideas above don’t cover a fraction of what clever devices or intelligent homes MIGHT have soon.
What would you like to see and have you seen anything you like!?