I recently spent a week on vacation with the family in northern New Hampshire and for the most part completely disconnected. While this time spent disconnected was a good way to decompress and refresh my senses it also brought with it the anxiety of being disconnected not only from communications but also from my smart home. This was something that I am not sure I was ready for but it also pointed out some issues with being constantly connected and having a home that is constantly connected. These issues with my connected home are what we will focus on and also what I will be devoting some time to changing in the near future, as soon as I figure out how to fix too much automation with more automation.
While away, I had to do things manually like fumble for light switches and even hit the brew button on the coffee maker. These are thing I had become accustomed to being done for me either by voice using an Amazon Echo or some automation associated with my SmartThings system either. I know first world problems, right? Well you may be right but man what an annoyance. I have never missed my goodnight routine, triggered with my Amazon Echo by simply saying “Alexa, Goodnight” and having all my lights turn off in the order in which I need them too in order to find my way to the bedroom safely. Instead of my wonderful automation I had to turn lights off then use the flashlight on my Samsung Galaxy S8 to find my way to the bedroom.
Okay that is a real first world problem and I get it I need to stop crying about it but there was something else that came up while being semi connected one day at the beach. I got a notification from SmartThings that the Leaksmart Sensor in my mechanical room had detected water and my Leaksmart Valve closed. So that brings up the question, do we really want to know if there is an issue in our home when we can do nothing about it? My answer is yes but my wife’s answer is no, and I cannot really blame her as she had to deal with me stressing out about it for the next few days. And just so you know it was a false alarm!
My other issue with being disconnected was just how much I missed my Amazon Echo, I never realized how much Alexa actually did for me. If she was not controlling a light, a television or any number of other connected devices she would be telling me the news, a joke or playing music. Music from my Amazon Echo was probably the toughest thing to get over. See I have a two-year old and part of his bedtime routine is saying to the Echo Dot in his room “Alexa, Play Lullabies.” Sounds silly right, well you try explaining to a two-year old that Alexa was not with us and even worse try getting him to sleep without the lullabies that he is used to. t me tell you that alone made for a long uncomfortable week with very little sleep.
Maybe you think all of this is silly, you might be right but I challenge you to try to separate yourself from your smart home and the technology that we use constantly for even a few days and tell me then if it is silly. Let me know your disconnected experiences in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.