What started as a multi-million dollar warehouse of computing technology in the 1950s has shrunk to an affordable pocket sized device with enough computing power to send a human to the moon. The growing ubiquity and integration of computing technology has created new frontiers and ideas of how to use it to improve lives. With the advent of the smartphone, the way we save money and protect our homes is moving into a touchscreen-powered digital age.
Old school smarts So called "smart houses" have actually been around in some form for some time. The first step in turning homes into smart houses started in 1852, when Edwin Holmes invented the first electrical home alarm system in Boston. This allowed houses to take care of themselves when the inhabitant was away - one of the central concepts a smart house is built upon. While the technology has advanced dramatically since then, home alarm systems have often been on the cutting edge of turning your home into a self-sufficient system.
New school smart Turning a home into a smart house is relatively similar to equipping a home with an alarm system. A fully technologically integrated house needs two things: a central computer to monitor and manage, and sensors that can act independently and communicate with the central computer. The growth of wireless or near-wireless technology makes it easier for essential components of your home to communicate with a central computer and deliver data to both you and the home’s computer to better manage how it runs. Add on sensors that can activate certain actions and remote controls that can be integrated into existing smart devices, and the oldest of homes can become a technological wonder that runs more efficiently.
How to save Technology today has enabled houses to go beyond the ability to protect itself with alarm systems to helping to manage the home itself. The biggest contributor to an energy bill is the cost of heating and cooling a home. When integrated with a computer, homes can turn heating and cooling systems on and off at a set schedule or be programmed to be reactive and only operate when the house knows there’s somebody home to enjoy the temperature. Using sensors or remote controls (such as smart phones) houses can better reflect our energy needs and not waste energy. Smart houses are made up of smart components, and those components are slowly integrating themselves into every corner of your home. Light bulbs that automatically turn on and off as you enter or exit a room, coffee makers that are activated when you rouse from bed, and windows that open and close depending on the outside temperature already exist and with the inevitable increase of these technologies, houses will have no choice but to "smarten-up."
Tech savvy homes Computing technology and the idea of "smart houses" have come along way since their inception. By using existing and emerging computer technology, homes can use energy more efficiently and thereby reduce one’s carbon footprint as well as save money. Regardless of the age of a house, retrofitting it with sensors and a central computing unit is easy and attainable.