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What does a home of the future look like? Do you picture the Jetson’s dancing with their robot maid or an intercom voice greeting you and turning on the coffee in the morning?

Surprisingly enough the future of homes is looking more like the second description, a “thoughtful” home that learns your habits and adapts to them. Imagine driving home from work knowing your car will alert your house to turn on the air and as soon as you get home you security cameras will shut off. It is highly unlikely we will be singing with our robot maid anytime soon, but a more conscientious home that adjusts to our lifestyle while saving energy and money… that may well be in our near future.

This future has already begun with products like nest. Nest is a thermostat that learns the temperatures you like and adapts when you are gone to conserve energy. Google’s interest in becoming the power house for future connected home services led them to buy out nest last year. Google is already in the works of turning nest into a smoke detector and one day hopefully a surveillance system as well. As the Internet of Things becomes more of a presence in our lives, Google is racing to create products that will makeup the “things” this internet will connect. The idea behind the internet of things is that much like the internet that connects people, there will be an internet that connects all things or devices.

We continually hear about Big Data and Analytics helping businesses be more efficient and save money and now that is being brought into our homes?! What’s the catch?

 

The catch is the same issue Big Data has in everything else- privacy. If we invite these futuristic devices into our home and expect them to learn from us, we are willingly sending very personal data to the monitoring companies, in this case, Google. The data collected from our thermostats will be used to compare energy usage in communities, and the surveillance system will allow monitors to see inside our most private areas- our homes. Although nest and Google insist that this data is very well protected and is shared with no one, it is a little unnerving to think about our very personal data being stored somewhere. The other concern is if we can even trust these computers with jobs such as detecting a fire. The more complicated a device, the more room for error. After discovering the nest can accidentally be turned off by its hand swipe feature, many users fear their smoke detectors may be accidentally swiped off. Although this problem was quickly solved by the manufacturers, I would be concerned with trusting the lives of my family to a computer.

 

With all this being said, we are coming to a time when these Connected Homes are becoming a reality. It will soon be up to the people to decide if the convenience is worth the risk or lack of privacy. Hopefully Google will come up with a way to provide these products and ensure the monitoring of personal data will be secure.

 

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