Our Life-changing Smart Home

I’ve posted about our automated home before, as long ago as 2011. In those days it was called Home Automation and was a bit of a specialist niche. Six years on, it’s now mainstream, goes by the more catchy name of Smart Home and most of the things you need can be bought from Amazon and delivered the next day.

Is it life-changing? Definitely. Not in the way of genetic engineering or cosmic convergence, but by simplifying little things we do every day. We have over 40 lights around the house and being able to switch all of them on or off with a simple command has improved our lives a little bit every day. Thanks to our Nest thermostat we arrive to a warm house every evening, regardless of our arrival time. If our smoke alarm goes off while we are not at home we get a message on our phones, giving us greater peace of mind.

One of the more disruptive technologies that we’ve integrated in the last year or so is voice recognition using the Amazon Echo. In 2011 this would have been laughable. Voice recognition was buggy and unreliable and anyone who tried it soon became self-conscious. Today, thanks to Alexa, it is fast and reliable. So our latest improvement has been to reduce the number of physical switches and replace them with spoken instructions. Another small life-changing improvement, several times every day.

We’ve recently got into Spotify. As a result we are listening to a more diverse selection of music, rather than just our own music collection. By allowing Spotify to recommend tracks to us, we are discovering new music which we might never have stumbled across. And by playing the music through our speakers which are dotted all around the house, our listening pleasure isn’t interrupted.

The examples go on and on. These small, frequent things all add up to an improved experience - many times a day, every day. And overall, this has changed our lives.