[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 17 December 2017]
We had a contractor at the house a few days ago to do some maintenance. Because it turns out houses fall apart as they age and you have to keep pouring money into them—who could have guessed?
But anyway, the contractor noticed my Google Home in the kitchen and talked about how he’s been installing smart switches for his clients for several years now.
After our house he was going to another client with a much, much more expensive home to install Malibu lights and a sprinkler system. Instead of installing the timer systems that comes with the sprinklers and the lights he was going to install smart switches and show the clients how to use them with their voice and their phones.
This is probably a “duh” thing for a lot of people, but I know that if I was a contractor I’d dread the tech support calls I’d get for something like that. He said he never gets a call—his clients love the smart switches.
His decision also makes a ton of sense if you’ve ever had to program a sprinkler system or Malibu lights with the timers that come with the systems. Those timers are—I can only assume, based on the amount of swearing I did myself setting them up when we first bought our house—designed by engineers who actively and enthusiastically loathe humanity, progress, and beauty.
Don’t believe me? Here, have a cold beverage and enjoy some instructions.
What surprised me about our contractor’s faith in smart devices is that as far as I’m concerned we’ve been so achingly close for so long for this kind of devices becoming acceptable for the masses.
They’re not there yet since we still have competing standards, not just with Echo, Google Home, and HomeKit, but also competing wireless standards on the backend. Oh, it gets complicated, boy does it ever get complicated.
So it was interesting to get a report from the frontlines saying we’re at that stage in the technology cycle now where rich people are passively getting set up with voice controlled devices and are happy with them.
Or contented, at least. And if you have spent any kind of time providing services to the kind of people who own multi-million-dollar homes, you know that they are not the kind of people who are shy or timid about expressing their displeasure. Which means the kind of smart devices this contractor is installing are huge successes with his clients.
Which means the smart devices are close to ready for mass consumption. The installation just needs to get easier so you don’t need a contractor to install the things and help you get up to speed.
And of course the prices need to drop significantly.
Smart homes are close now. Closer and closer.
And yes, I know that anecdote is not the singular of data, but what he said jives with everything else I’m seeing.