Have you heard of the term “Smart Home?” It should’ve been called “Genius Home,” because you had to be a genius to set it up. Smart Home was and is a great concept–automated lighting, temperature, futuristic houses out of Sci Fi. The problem was, it took a genius to set it up, and it took the patron saint of patience to manage it. Oh yeah, and it was expensive. Like…really expensive. Especially if you were a business.
Something as simple as setting up a light could take several steps, and don’t think you can change anything, or you need to call an engineer. Projects often started with a detailed assessment where the client had to commit to minutiae like where a lamp was plugged in.
Smart Homes had a nice place for very wealthy people. Hang a giant TV, use a complicated remote to turn things on and off, and have surround sound. Businesses like bars had to control 10-20 TV screens and could do it all with one remote. (Idea: next time you are at a sports bar, ask the bartender to change the channel and watch them get annoyed). The point is, it was complicated, expensive and difficult to manage.
Who cares? Well, the promise of Smart Home actually has a lot of value in Senior Living. An apartment that can have controlled lights, especially via voice command, is safer. Being able to automate and monitor temperature not only saves money but alleviates staff time. Sensors not only control lights, but they tell you about activity, such as too many bathroom visits.
It’s not hard to figure out what happened next–companies sold Smart Home tech to senior living, at a very high price tag, and in the words of an hilarious trumpet…whaaaa whaaa whaaaaaa.
What became obvious a few years ago was that the promise of smart home technology wasn’t going to happen until the industry standardized and made it easier to buy, set up and manage the cool gadgets. And as the articles listed at the bottom of this blog share, we are here. The major players; Amazon, Google and Apple, have decided to standardize on a platform called “Matter.” The goal is to make it possible to connect all the old stuff people already wasted their time trying to make work, with a bunch of new stuff, and finally make this next wave of tech available to the masses and manageable.
At Speak2, we have taken a very soft approach to Smart tech. We have always admired its potential, but we also advised people to take a small, short-term baby step rather than a large-scale adoption. As it turns out, drum roll please, we were right. And now, with the standardization, it’s possible to make the dream of smart tech come true, at a reasonable cost, and without the risk of needing a team of experts to change the name of a light switch.
Want to know more? I love talking about this nerdery. Reach out and I will give lots of semi-arrogant advice…
Click here to view the original Wall Street Journal article.