HWM (Singapore) - - Ed's Note - Zachary Chan EDI­TOR

I of­ten over­hear con­ver­sa­tions on the bus, in the el­e­va­tor or the next ta­ble at a restau­rant—not eaves­drop­ping mind you—the ears just hap­pen to pick up cer­tain key­words of in­ter­est; words like “4K”, “Net­flix”, “NFC” and “Home­plug”. Then I end up fol­low­ing the con­ver­sa­tion whether I ac­tu­ally want to or not. This “su­per­power” of mine is kind of like when you first no­tice a dead pixel on a screen and from then on can­not un-see it. You’ll al­ways know it’s there, drawn to it…but I’m di­gress­ing.

My main point is that tech­nol­ogy is be­com­ing main­stream, and more people know of or at least have heard of these terms to be topics of gen­eral con­ver­sa­tion. Even the most techad­verse in­di­vid­ual will work out how to use their smart­phone; to What­sapp, to In­sta­gram and to stream their fa­vorite Korean dra­mas. Par­ents show­ing up on Face­book are be­com­ing more of a norm than a cul­ture shock.

Tech­nol­ogy has also be­come easy. One does not need to know the ac­tual de­tails be­hind Blue­tooth and its un­der­ly­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions and pro­to­cols. One nor­mally just presses a but­ton and in most cases, it’ll work. Sim­i­larly, you do now need to know how to over­haul an en­gine in or­der to drive a car. An­other ex­am­ple: IP tele­phony and in­ter­net video calls used to in­volve com­pli­cated soft­ware setup and hard­ware driver in­stal­la­tions. To­day, FaceTime is just an­other but­ton to press.

This is how far we’ve pro­gressed to­day, and there’s no ar­gu­ing that tech­nol­ogy is en­rich­ing our lives. In this is­sue of HWM, we look past per­sonal gad­gets such as the smart­phone, tablet and PC. In­stead, we delve into the next-gen­er­a­tion of de­vices and ap­pli­ances that aim to pro­vide even more au­to­ma­tion, con­nec­tiv­ity and con­ve­nience in and around the home. We also look at in­ter­net tech­nolo­gies and ser­vices that break down tra­di­tional bound­aries to bring the world ever closer in this dig­i­tal age.

Are you ready for the era of the smart home?

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