Saturday, December 1, 2012

Futurist Prediction: From Smart House to Networked Home

This blog is analysis of the following article:
From Smart House to Networked Home
WFS Home › The Futurist › July-August 2012, Vol. 46, No. 4 › 

By Chris Carbone and Kristin Nauth

Article Analysis:

This prediction pertains to how technology can effect the future of smart homes. This article discusses 10 technology trajectories and their effects on a future smart home. The 10 trajectories are: adaptive environments, cloud intelligence, collaboration economy, contextual reality, cutting the cable, information fusion, interface anywhere, any way, manufacturing 3.0, personal analytics and socially networked stuff (Carbone & Nauth, 2012). The article also discusses the five social drivers and influences for technological advancements. The five described in this article are the maturing of the digital natives, shifting demography, digital DIY, new family dynamics, and constrained family finances. For the sake of this assignment I will discuss cloud intelligence and personal analytics and their effects on the future of smart homes and shifting demography and constrained family finances as drivers and influences that could effect the two mentioned trajectories for smart homes.

The author of this article when he speaks of cloud intelligence and its future effects on smart homes, is referring to the fact that the cloud as we know it will evolve from being the static repository of data into an active resource that people rely on throughout their daily lives (Carbone & Nauth, 2012). In the smart home, the home as well as the cloud will become more adaptive. This adaptation could allow for kitchen appliances to be able to design weekly menus for a family based on the family's health profile, fitness goals and eating preferences. Then the added bonus would be the same appliance actually ordering the ingredients the family needs.

The personal analytics aspect of the smart home directly correlates with the predicted change to cloud intelligence. The personal analytics refers to the idea of data analytics increasing as a consumer tool similar to that of a business tool (Carbone & Nauth, 2012). The premise is that the kitchen appliance mentioned above or a sensor located at the front door could read the body language of the person entering the home and could then determine the person's mood. The sensor/application or kitchen appliance could then determine what should be prepared for dinner, or change the lighting in the room to fit the person's mood. The same appliance could have a glass of wine or a cold beer on the counter for the person as soon as they walk into the kitchen.

In theory both mentioned scenarios for the direction of the smart home seem to be pretty reasonable based on the technological advancements we have seen over the past 10 years. However with all progression there are things that limit and/or negatively effect the progression levels. In this particular case, shifting demography and constrained family finances would be the two biggest forces to negatively effect this progression. Shifting demography has already effected technological advances in that the picture of the family has changed.  People are marrying later in life and therefore they have having children later. As a result the size of the average family is shrinking (Carbone & Nauth, 2012). With these change in demography families are no longer communicating face to face, most communication is being conducted via smart phones, social media and via tablets. Which means the need for family togetherness time has depleted. With the new smart home computing family related information, it would need the family present to have accurate information.

In order for a family to be able to have a smart home with the features mentioned earlier the family would have to be able to afford the home, hence the constrained family finances. Although the thought of technological advancements in the home sounds very appealing, families would have to be able to afford such features. In other words these advances are not a necessity. The cost of building such products will be high which means the cost to consumers will be even higher. One could see a two-tier market emerge in which well-off families adopt smart-homes technology while less-well-off households stick to twentieth-century-style home systems (Carbone & Nauth, 2012).

Carbone, C. & Nauth, K. (2012). The Futurist, From smart house to networked home. 46(4). Retrieved November 22, 2012 from:


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