In the smart home is one thing, but what we really need are smart communities and smarter cities
In my first post from CES, I asked, does your oven want to be on the internet? In this, my last post, I am coming to the conclusion that yes, perhaps it does. While the oven discussed in that post may have been a very poor implementation, there is no question that more and more of the things we own are going to be talking to each other, and that they have something to say.
In this video, Leopold Beer of Bosch explains how they are adding internet connectivity to every product they make, so that, for example, your dishwasher can talk to your fridge. It's not so silly as it sounds; if the dishwasher or clothes washing runs on hot water heated in an electric water heater, then deciding on its own to run when electricity is cheapest would save a lot of money and reduce peak loads on power plants. It goes further than that; according to Bosch:
Thanks to sensors and software, for example, a smart home will be able to detect things such as upstairs windows that are still open, and combine this information with weather forecasts on the internet to close the windows and lower the blinds before a thunderstorm breaks. To give another example, during vacations, the controls can switch on lights at random to deter burglars. What is more, if a motion sensor is triggered, the smart home can alert a security service and feed a video stream to the owner’s smartphone.
Of course such a vision entails having motors on all your windows and blinds, and assumes that everyone is going to be living in separate suburban houses surrounded by burglars. But this technology would be even more useful in multifamily housing with shared bikes and electric cars, with so many more variables in water and electricity use and the opportunity for management that could be so much more efficient. The Smart Home plays well at CES, but we are also going to see smart communities and smart cities.
That's a smart connected future that looks more interesting.