During the 1960s, George Jetson, his wife Jane, daughter Judy and son Elroy lived in a futuristic space pod where everything was automated. Today, that cartoon scenario is closer to reality than ever. You may not be able to live exactly like the Jetsons, but it is possible to automate and regulate quite a bit, operating lighting, appliances and even housecleaning from your smartphone or with a simple verbal command. The cost is less than you might imagine, with the additional benefit of reducing your household’s carbon footprint.
Smart lighting results in lower electric bills and is also environmentally friendly. Smart lighting can be configured to monitor energy usage, to turn itself on and off on a set schedule or to turn lights off in rooms that are not being used, translating into significant utility bill savings. Smart lighting systems can also incorporate colored bulbs or connect to a dimmer for mood lighting.
Smart Heating and Cooling
Anyone who has experienced sticker shock from a sky-high electric bill due to heating in the winter or air conditioning during the summer will appreciate the benefits of smart heating and cooling. Smart meters allow users to monitor and regulate electric usage, scheduling high-demand tasks such as laundry for non-peak periods. Smart meters also regulate heating and cooling systems, scheduling systems to run for the minimum time needed to maintain reasonable indoor comfort. Smart heating and cooling systems can also regulate thermostats on a schedule so that less heating and cooling energy is used at night.
Smart cleaning robots are definitely fun. They can be set to clean up sudden messes and to run on a schedule to keep all the floors in your home clean, allowing homeowners to spend time doing other things. Smart cleaning robots “sense” obstacles such as furniture and avoid them. They also plug themselves in when they need to be recharged.
Automated electrical controls are not new. However, smart switches remove the function of turning electrical items on and off from the realm of novelty items like The Clapper. These sophisticated controls allow users to schedule and monitor usage of anything plugged into them from a laptop computer or a mobile app. The payoff comes in the form of energy savings as well as lower utility bills.
Voice Activated Assistance
Voice activated systems such as Amazon Echo or Google Home use technology similar to virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri. However, services like Amazon Echo or Google Home can do far more than smartphone-based assistants. These services can control a user’s lighting and thermostats, make phone calls or control an entire security system.