The future of the smart home is accessible

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The future of the smart home is accessible

By Rob_Martens

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The future of the smart home is accessible

A Futurist’s view on technology’s growing accessibility and the need to demystify for consumers

 

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By Rob Martens, Futurist and VP of Strategy and Partnerships for Allegion, maker of Schlage.

 

One of the things I love most about technology is that every device begins its life as an idea. In decades past, inventors, futurists like myself, and even science fiction writers have spent countless hours imagining ways the future can be better through the advancement of technology. But it’s not only about ground breaking ideas, major advancements, or that moment when the idea becomes reality. Technology has its greatest impact when it becomes accessible enough for everyone to benefit from – when the idea becomes practical.

 

We may not have reached the age of flying cars, but now you can lock your car (or your front door) from the other side of the planet, so you don’t have to spend your entire vacation wondering if your belongings are safe. The technology used to do this is fairly simple and has existed for quite a while, yet using it in this practical way may seem like a new idea.
That’s because it takes time for a new technology to grow from just an idea into an actual device, and even more time to become accessible enough for everyone to benefit from. When technology becomes more accessible, it evolves even further as we find alternate ways it can become practical in our daily lives. For example, in just the past few decades the smartphone has completely changed the way we live. We still use them to make calls, but as smartphones have become more and more accessible they’ve also made mobile access to the Internet widespread across the country, giving rise to new services and cultural behaviors that weren’t possible before.

The smart home space is an especially exciting example of this evolution because advancements are happening so rapidly that the possibilities for real-world application expand every day. That moment when a new technology becomes affordable and performs well enough to make its way into the mass market is extremely important in opening up those possibilities. However, in order for a technology to become relevant enough to change the cadence of our lives and even our society, it must be truly demystified for the user.

A lot goes into that demystification. Smart home tech is truly successful when it adds convenience to our lives, and it can only do that when it is simple for any user to set up and begin using. The smart home is no longer about investing significant time and resources into hiring a professional to set up a complex, whole-home system with a user manual the size of a novel. These days, it’s easy to start with one device that works with a smartphone right out of the box and is easily integrated into your daily routine. Smart locks are a great example of this.
In other words, smart home technology is evolving from futuristic idea to practical application rapidly, and it’s no longer just for early tech adopters. It’s for your mom, your grandparents, your kids – anyone moving fast through the day who needs technology to make life easier without causing disruption. This level of accessibility takes smart home to the next level: no longer ‘smart’, but simply ideal. A home that is fluid and adaptable based on our daily, changing needs. No longer a luxury for a select few, but completely obtainable and customizable for all, one piece at a time.
Part of the demystification process is also understanding how these devices can actually be useful and make life easier. Why would you want to be able to control your lock with your smartphone? Because I was in a hurry this morning, and it’s incredibly comforting that I can double check from my office whether I locked the front door behind me. Why connect it to another device? Instead of fumbling for the light switch in the dark when I get home late, the lights come on automatically as I unlock the door. I may be biased, but the easiest way to try smart home tech for the first time is with your door lock. It’s the entry point to your home, and where so much of the magic can happen.
What’s most important is that it’s easy for me to set up my smart lock and integrate it with other devices without having to understand every detail of the technology. They work seamlessly, and they add a moment of convenience to my day without interrupting my routine. This convenience is exciting because it’s no longer just an idea for futurists to consider, but available today to everyone. That level of accessibility is the true future of the smart home –and it’s happening now. To learn more, visit Schlage.com/thoughtleadership.

 

Rob Martens

Rob Martens | Futurist and VP of Strategy and Partnerships


Rob Martens uses his unique talent for identifying patterns and associations to look for mega trends in technology, as well as the ways they can be used to improve the average person’s day. 

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