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The Role Technology Is Playing in our Homes

(Article by Lisa H)

Did you read the headline thinking you’re not that into technology? Take a look at your day-to-day life and you may just think again.

Do you get up and switch on your smartphone (wait, you probably never switched it off)? And then wirelessly connect to your Internet to check your email? Do you then hop out of bed, hit play on your iPod and head to the kitchen to the smell of freshly baked bread that you put into your bread machine last night? Perhaps you click on your PVR to check the latest news on Dstv while powering up your laptop or tablet to check in on your social media sites. I bet a few of these sound familiar!

Technology is playing a vital role in our lives and in our homes and we can be sure that its role is only going to get bigger.

Much of our future lifestyle, researchers predict, is going to be ruled by resources. When we think about the home of the future, it isn’t simply going to be about infusing glamour into our spaces or sticking in some LED lighting. (As a matter of fact, one experiment with LED lights found that energy usage shot up a whopping 60%).

What we can expect is an upgrade on the devices we currently use to those that are more efficient and provide greater connectivity between humans and machines. We’ll be able to seamlessly “communicate” with our technology in the near future.

According to an expert at Google, people will never be lonely, lost or bored with technology in the home. They reckon that new technology will offer the possibility of a lifetime of knowledge and entertainment.

Now, think about outdoor technology. Most of us probably have motion-sensor lights, electric gates and electric garage doors. Fast forward about 7 years and if companies like Panasonic have their way, you might be enjoying charging plates for your electric car. This also means we may see more people with their own fuel cells installed in their homes. These are already on the market in Japan and they allow users to generate their own power fairly cheaply. 

In the Kitchen

The kitchen has been the host of gadgets for a long time already: coffee machines; frothers; air fryers; halogen ovens – there are arrays of gadgets that claim to make our lives easier, quicker and more energy efficient. 

The kitchen of the future is set to eliminate tedious shopping. LG Electronics has launched a fridge-freezer that is able to ‘communicate’ with other devices in the home as well as with retailers to inform them what’s inside. Then, via a screen on the door, the appliance will suggest what you could cook with the food in the house while offering advertisers the opportunity to recommend products.

There are already shops in the world that are encouraging devices to automatically build up shopping lists and then have you arrange a one-touch delivery – somewhat of a step up from online shopping.

Many of us have Tablets these days and the cookery apps for the iPad have begun to solve the problem of sticky fingers on a screen when you’re cooking. The front camera is used to register movement so pages can be turned by simply waving your hand in front of the tablet.

In The Living Room

It’s the living room that’s seen the most astonishing changes in the past few years. From the iPlayer that allows everyone in the house to watch what they want, when they want to smart TVs and game console – the idea of interacting with the TV set is now very much a reality.

If you’ve used Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect, you’re already familiar with the idea of speaking to, or even waving, at the television to make it do things. Samsung, already a leader in smart technology, have been building similar technology in their TV sets. The idea is that instead of searching for the remote, you can wave to browse through the program guide.
Although this technology is still in its early stages, we can expect to see devices that detect facial expression. Imagine changing channels with the arch of an eyebrow!

Television sets are also set to become the main platform for video calls and cameras in TVs will become as common as those in smartphones.

And all of this is set to be in the environment where everything from digital picture frames to thermostats is controlled via mobile phones or tablet devices.

Bathrooms

With the recent increases in water and electricity bills, we’re sure to see an increasing number of homes with smart water meters that will be able to monitor how much water you use which will drive a growth in water-efficient shower heads, for example.

Digital controls will equal personalized shower settings for each member of the family and even parental control so that there’s no more waiting for your teenager to get out of the shower.

There are already bathroom scales on the market that are Wi-Fi-enabled and hooked up to keep track of your measurements online and adjust your exercise routines accordingly. 

With the amount of technology already in the home, the future is set to ensure that our lives and our connectivity become increasingly seamless and those Michael J. Fox scenes in Back to the Future may just become our reality!



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