The pros and cons of emerging smart home technology

In the next four years, over 35 percent of Australian homes will turn into “smart homes”, meaning they will operate using automated smart home technology. Apparently, the global smart home market is expected to hit over $50 billion in value by 2020. That’s about seven million Aussies living with an intuitive, electronic servant.

Hey Google! Can you please find my phone?

If this phrase is not common in your household, it certainly will be!

Gone will be the days when you’ll need a remote control to switch your TV channels, or strain to switch off your bedside lamp. Future smart home gadgets will perform functions based on instructions provided by your voice.

Currently, Google Home, Siri and Alexa are the female-sounding devices that do our bidding. But soon, these applications will become obsolete as more streamlined options are innovated such as the Wattcost smart energy monitor that I reviewed earlier this year, and now on my radar is the smart mirror dubbed “Embrace”.

According to media reports, Embrace resembles an ordinary mirror and all you have to do is hung it on a wall and order it to perform a function. You can also operate it in the manner you do when using your smartphone or engage in an illusion Tom Cruise Minority Report.

Are you feeling lazy? A mere gesture at it is sure to activate it.

New smart home gadgets

According to Steven Baxt, the inventor and founder of Smart Mirrors Pty Ltd., a simple voice command or touch is enough to make a Skype video call or fill your toilet with music–hands-free!

In other words, Steve says a private activity like going to the bathroom shouldn’t stop you from showing up at a work meeting, plus an effective soundtrack.

Talking of meetings, you’ll never have to worry about missing any. As a matter of fact, the large mirror in your home will avail your work calendar on full display.

Can you imagine…

Walking down a hallway with the Embrace Smart Mirror then the screen automatically goes live with your unread emails and all the hot news headlines.

Please don’t say this is fiction. If our world today is already awash with smart technology, it is only a matter of time before we get to ask robots the truth about some things in our lives.

Care to do your makeup with the Embrace Smart Mirror?

“Hello Embrace! How does my hair look? Is it OK like this?”

“Hi Chloe. Your hair looks fine but you may need to reduce your intake of fructose snacks. I analysed your weight using your mattress sensors, went ahead to cross-reference it with a million samples from women your age and concluded you’ve added two pounds overnight – which is higher than the national average.”

“Embrace! That’s not true! It’s just water weight!”

“Chloe, based on the in-built weighing system inside your toilet bowl, your claim is incorrect. Your 206 followers on Instagram have no clue that you’ve been using two separate filters yet you have a meeting with your boss next Wednesday at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time and based on your Google searches you sure want to impress your boss”.

“You know what Embrace? This conversation is driving me crazy and I just feel like eating last night’s pizza. Can you please open the fridge door?”

“I’m sorry, Chloe. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

The smart mirror doubles as a servant slash frenemy

Of course you can’t smash Embrace, your servant/frenemy into a million pieces lest you be locked out of your kitchen or bathroom forever.

What you should be doing right now is to look at the smart home gadgets as a friend. And the name Embrace does not in any way insinuate ultimate sentience or accelerated intimacy. So let me just pen off by saying embrace Embrace!

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.