I once dreamt of a world where it would be possible for every thing I needed to be available on my command – without having to rely on the servants below stairs.
Already I have a smart phone that can do simple tasks for me like add something to my calendar, alert me when there is new email to be read, take incredibly high definition photographs and video and, from time to time, allow me to converse in real time with family members who are probably in the next room.
I have now taken the next step towards my dream and introduced voice activated controls on my lighting, heating and music. With just a few carefully worded commands I can have my lounge lights turned on , or off, or back on again without having to go on an excursion to the wall by the door and flicking a switch.
In two rooms I don’t even have to speak as the motion detectors turn the lights on for me; and it knows when I’ve left the room and switches them off again. Genius.
I can set the lights to a variety of colours to match my mood or have them slowly fade out at the end of the day. If I wanted I could even set them to flash whenever someone comments on this post.
I’m led to believe that there is a coffee machine that will start brewing either at a certain time or simply by telling it to do so – even if I’m in a different room to it. Or, get this, on a bus. Yes, I could control my entire house without actually being there.
I have always seen myself as an early starter when it comes to technology. I remember getting my first proper home computer – with free Encarta encyclopaedia* – long before anyone else I knew. I signed up for email and waited patiently for about three years until one of my friends got round to having one. Now I get dozens of emails every day, mostly from people I don’t know.
It is going to be different I think with the home automation thing. The take up is happening a lot quicker and it seems like a lot of people I know have had them for Christmas. I can see this coming new year as an explosion of new gadgets and cross device integration. It really is only a matter of time before my house will no longer resemble a Heath Robinson drawing and everything will be controlled by computers. What could possibly go wrong?
The lights have just flashed. Either someone has just commented on this or the coffee is ready or the wifi has gone down again. As it’s very unlikely to be the first two, I guess I’ll need to go and reboot the system, or I could just ask the ‘help’ to do it.
*Encarta was a bit like having a huge encyclopaedia at your fingertips (once you loaded it in to the CD ROM player). Now when I say huge we are talking few decades ago. In today’s terms it was tiny, probably less than .001% of Wikipedia’s FAQs.