Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on January 13th, 2015

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Are we closer to living life like George Jetson and Marty McFly with the help of smart technology?

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This year's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has officially come to an end. If you are a technology geek or gadget lover, you were probably glued to reports from the event. Conventions like these always make me feel as though we are one step closer to living life like the 60's cartoon family, The Jetsons.  Sometimes I wonder if some of these gadgets were created from a spark of imagination while watching Back to the Future.  Surely, many of the new gadgets make me think of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.  No matter which of these you can relate to, there is no denying that technology is changing the way we do things. We are seeing things that once were thought of as "futuristic" or from say, outer space is now becoming close to reality.

No, now don't be silly, I am not suggesting that we are closer to living in outer space like the Jetson family. But, I will say that technology is more and more bringing the type of life the Jetson's or the McFly family lived to our fingertips. Take things like video conferencing, drones, robots, tablets and voice command appliances. Many of these items have been decades in the making. Sure, perhaps they started as far-fetched schemes of dreams of someday or what-ifs. Walt Disney created his Carousel of Progress for the 1964-65 World's Fair and the attraction is still present in the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom today.  The attraction had its last update in 1994. In this classic Disney attraction, the "future" has a voice command stove,  virtual reality video games and more.

In 2015 the talk is of the "Internet of Things" or (IoT). Many major corporations are trying to capitalize on this. The concept is connected devices that communicate with each other to enhance the up and coming "Smart Home". At this year's CES event in Las Vegas last week many new inventions were showcased to further enhance the smart or connected home. In fact, many items are already on the market and installed in many homes today. Let's take a look at some of the gadgets and gizmos available to bring us one step closer to the Jeton's way of life! It is 2015 after all, didn't Marty McFly and company predict all sorts of high tech lifestyle enhancements by this year?

1. Nest. We have discussed Nest on the blog in the past, with my review of their smart thermostat.   In addition to the thermostat, they also boast a Carbon Monoxide/Smoke detector as well as a "Dropcam" that works with the Nest. All Nest devices work hand in hand with your smartphone. Sending you alerts if necessary. Nest products assist you with energy conservation as well as assist in keeping your family safe in the event of a home emergency.

2. Smart Appliances. Manufacturers such as Samsung and LG boast lines of smart appliances. They range from refrigerators to washing machines. Whirpool will even work with your Nest products. The Whirpool washer or dryer can communicate with the "Away" setting on your Nest thermostat and create more energy efficient cycles.

3. Lighting systems. Lighting systems like the "Hue" are app controlled and can also utilize GPS via your smartphone. With the enabling of the GPS locator, your home lights can turn on as you get closer to home, heck they can even start to flash to announce your pending arrival to your family if you wish!  These app controlled systems can aid in security while you're away too. You can set timers to turn lights on and off at varying times, or you can just simply use the app to turn them on or off at will from a far off place.

4.  Smart locks. There are many available. Some manufacturers are Schlage and UniKey among many others. UniKey, for example, works with either a key fob or your smartphone. These smart locks replace existing deadbolt locks. Need a friend of neighbor to check on something in your home when you are away, send them a temporary key to their smartphone, that you can change or delete promptly if you wish.

These items are readily available in the retail market. You can find varying manufacturers and apps available on iOS or Andriod. There were many new innovative gadgets announced at this year's CES that are coming soon the marketplace. There are baby friendly devices, such as thermometers and anti-gas baby bottles as well as pacifier finders and car seat monitors. The marketplace ideas are endless for what you can do with the Internet of Things and the smart connected home. Are you using any of these smart devices? If so, are they any you would recommend? Perhaps you have an idea to bring something to life via iOS or HeathKit or to make your home smarter and more efficient. Talk to a qualified developer today to bring your idea to life.