Home gets smarter all the time

Some­day even the dish­washer and fridge will send us help­ful mes­sages

Grand Magazine - - TECH - By Mark McAr­dle

TO­DAY MOST of us use the In­ter­net ev­ery day through de­vices like our mo­bile phones, note­book com­put­ers and other de­vices like ‘‘ smart TVs’’ and gam­ing con­soles. We tend to take our con­nect­ed­ness for granted.

We can get an­swers to pretty much any ques­tion that has al­ready been an­swered with a quick search, and mak­ing plans for din­ner is ac­com­plished with a few clicks.

But there’s a com­ing wave of new con­nect­ed­ness called the In­ter­net of Things. This term refers to the abil­ity for pretty much any de­vice you can think of to be con­nected to the In­ter­net.

The an­a­lyst firm Gart­ner be­lieves the in­stall base of net­worked de­vices will reach 25 bil­lion by 2020, and most of th­ese de­vices will be in the con­sumer space. In the next few years, you’re go­ing to start see­ing more and more ap­pli­ances, tools and other pre­vi­ously “dumb” de­vices be­come smarter.

You can see some of this hap­pen­ing al­ready. I have Nest ther­mostats and Nest Pro­tect smoke and car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors in my house. They are con­nected to the In­ter­net through my home net­work, and pro­vide re­mote man­age­ment and visibility into the cli­mate and se­cu­rity of my home.

The Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas this year was once again packed with a di­verse set of new prod­ucts. The se­lec­tion cov­ered the spec­trum from the $120,000 Sam­sung 105-inch bend­able TV to a 3D printer that spe­cial­izes in print­ing bras. The colos­sal show is a show­case of in­no­va­tion, both use­ful and not.

In 2014, Sam­sung ac­quired a smart-home tech­nol­ogy com­pany called SmartThings. This tech­nol­ogy will be use­ful in Sam­sung’s In­ter­net of Things prod­uct devel­op­ment.

A SmartThings en­vi­ron­ment in­cludes a cen­tral Hub that com­mu­ni­cates to SmartThings-en­abled de­vices us­ing the two stan­dard home au­to­ma­tion pro­to­cols, Z-Wave and Zig­Bee as well as Blue­tooth. Th­ese de­vices can be things like locks, sen­sors, cam­eras, speak­ers and lights, and the list is go­ing to ex­pand.

The Hub is a sep­a­rate de­vice to­day, but

Mark McAr­dle

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