Posted 2/14/16 in the “Tech” section. Bwa ha ha
Won’t somebody, anybody – Rain? Dave M? – bestow a smart stall upon this self-proclaimed “exuberant force for good”?
Could a smart thermostat reduce the divorce rate? Could a connected fridge be the key to unlocking relationship woes? According to the findings of a new survey commissioned by Intel, a quarter of Americans believe it can. The report goes on to hint that in the future, the all encompassing phrase “IoT” won’t just stand for the Internet-of-Things, it will herald in a new terminology, built around the idea of the “Intimacy-of-Things.” In other words, things (and their endless maintenance) would no longer block, but actually aid our intimacy.
For anyone who shares domestic duties with a partner (and that’s most of us), we quickly realize that the constant maintenance required due to the wear and tear of the things we own often leads to wear and tear on our romance. Very few people find it sexy to argue over household chores. The American dream of owning a home comes with a little nightmare, the often-overwhelming amount of time, energy and cash it takes to maintain that home. Light bulbs burn out, furnaces strain and dishwashers leak. Home sweet home doesn’t always ring true when our homes seem to be where our to-do lists go to multiply.
The irony is that while we argue about basics, like garbage and vacuuming, at the same time we are carrying around enough computing power in our pockets to guide a small space ship! We can tap into an app to navigate us home, check on traffic, watch our favorite show and video chat with the cat, yet once the garage door is raised we still fiddle with keys, turn on switches and manage thermostats. Wait a second, it’s 2016! Where are the retinal scan entry systems that open the door, turn on the heat, raise the blinds and welcome you with the entry melody of Hail to the Chief?
The good news is that a techno-fueled hope is emerging on the horizon — the promise of the smart home. A new report, “Intel Architecting the Smart Home of the Future,” revealed that people desire smart homes for many of the same reasons they seek more work life balance, for increased quality time with our families and — bonus!! — less arguing with our partners about chores. If the Intel survey is right, the reality is closer than we think. According to the report findings, 7 in 10 Americans are confident that smart homes will be as common as smartphones within the next decade.
To illustrate the point, Intel even built a tiny home to serve as a “living lab” for the future of Smart Home technology, “an experimental showcase to explore the opportunities, experiences and tensions of creating a Smart Home.” The technologies showcased include innovative sensors that don’t just tell you when you have a leak — they actually call a plumber to fix it then unlock the door to let them in.
This is just the beginning of an industry that will revolutionize the way we live. Not only in our homes – but as Intel points out, “a smart world where our homes, cars, neighborhoods and cities will talk effortlessly to each other.” So if our living environments are raising their connected IQ, will it provide us with the extra time and energy we crave to increase our own emotional IQs? Professors at Carnegie Mellon University predict it will, saying: “We believe a smart home should provide families with a feeling of control over their lives: being relieved from breakdowns in daily routines, and getting emotional satisfaction from the things they value — identity, time, and relationships.”
With the smart home of the future there will be no need to argue about taking the garbage out – the smart home already disposed of it. No need to hire a babysitter, when you can get a virtual assistant – that’s right, according to the Intel report some 10 percent of millennials would use a virtual babysitter! If we can successfully automate this conveyor belt of everyday chores and inconveniences, the impending smart home has every ability to live up to the promise American’s are seemingly so ready to embrace. According to Intel’s findings at least 71 percent of Americans expect at least one smart device to be in every home by 2015.
So, if you are still scratching your head looking for inspiration on an original Valentine’s gift to purchase your loved one this season — hint, hint — the answer may be smarter than you think. Even cupid’s got an app for that now!
Bottom Picture Hall of Shame: The 11 Fans in the ‘Stans who liked Donkey’s vacation from vacation-itis “perfectionist” post.
8) Maya Dibley! The dibs lives and works in England, and before you white knights rush to the aid of the Pretty White Lady, please know she’s been giving Donkey thumbs up and appreciative comments for years. The dibs’ bio even includes an epigraph attributed to the laziest burro in San Francisco:
Don’t we all want to be strong, vulnerable, happy and scared all at the same time? To never figure it out? And, just maybe – to be okay with that? – Julia Allison, Marie Claire (UK Edition), April 2008.