2012
03.19

My home is different than your home. So why then should I want to automate my home like you do your home? Give me the option to create “myHome” and then you can talk to me about the smart home.

If you haven’t yet checked out “The Great Transformation” by Daniel Burrus in our latest issue, I strongly suggest you do. In it, Burrus outlines how the mobility revolution has taken off thanks in part to the theory of “myPhone.” He says, “… let’s say you have an iPhone and I have an iPhone. However, my iPhone is very different from your iPhone, and the reason is apps. Essentially, I don’t have an “iPhone,” I have a “myPhone.” The user customizes it.”

Furthermore, as he describes, if I don’t like an app I simply delete it. It’s all around the idea of the experience. Can the same hold true for my home?
Now I am not saying my home would become one giant iPhone … or am I? Customized “ringtones” for when different people show up and ring my doorbell? Perhaps Siri-like voice commands where I ask what the living room would look like if we painted a deeper shade of brown? “Keep looking,” is what myHome Siri would tell me.

Have we cracked the code on the smart home yet? Companies like Google would say absolutely. But to me we are far from truly inviting the idea of “connected” into our home. Perhaps a more relevant question should be, “Are we even making strides?”

I guess when I see retailers like Lowe’s taking a crack at it I am not sure whether that makes me optimistic or saddened. Optimistic in the fact the technology has become so mainstream that it can be brought to the masses by a major retailer; saddened by the fact that the big boys in the tech world are so far off base that a retailer that is best known for selling lawnmowers and paint feels need the need to fill the void.

An announcement out of CeBIT 2012 from Z-Wave details the idea of “Home Smart Home” that would allow me to control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning from my PC, tablet, or smartphone. Without much detail beyond that, my initial reaction is along the lines of, “what else ya got?”

Carmakers are getting the idea, with in-vehicle systems becoming much more personalized. Heck, even the retailers are supposedly catching on if these intelligent signs and billboards ever truly take off. But what it will take to transform my home into “myHome” could be beyond the powers that be at the moment.

The fact that the carmakers are able to start from scratch and introduce such options into new models rather than having us retrofit these systems into our existing cars is an advantage. Homes don’t have that luxury. We have to work with what we already have, and that seems daunting to some degree.

Should the smart home be best left for that true “new home” purchase? Perhaps my next home purchase will involve an app developer, alongside my builder and my realtor. Until then I will continue trying to force my home to become “myHome.”

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