The New Year has rolled in and 2015 gives us another chance to up our game from 2014’s design, engineering and technology successes. After having a quick read of The Telegraphs technology forecast (click here for it), I became particularly interested in ‘The Smart-Home’.
Like anyone who studied Product Design, any home appliance we designed was pushed to be more sustainable, and more often than not, we took the ‘smart’ route. Of course the full life cycle of such products are of utmost importance in terms of materials, manufacturing processes and disposal, but it always seemed easier to chuck in a gadget that made your product ‘smart’. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of where their products come from and how they can be more ‘eco-friendly’, but quite frankly, the majority of us are pretty lazy and would rather do our bit for the environment with the swipe of a finger.
Smart technology in the home could easily increase security, save us money, make homes more sustainable and ease our interaction with the appliances we buy. It also leads to an increase in laziness and an ineptitude to figure out how to use products manually, a developing problem in this day and age.
Is smart technology the way to go?
Personally, I am a huge fan of it, IF (and there is an if) we still maintain a level of interaction with our products and an understanding of their functionalities so that we do not solely rely on flashy apps to control our homes. Your house is a place of refuge from the world. A place that you control and your habits take precedence over what anyone thinks (whether that is your neighbour or your smartphone). Smart technology has a market and I wonder if that market does not belong to a demographic outside of ‘main stream consumerism’. By this, I mean smart appliances for sufferers of dementia or homes with children for example. Environments where surveillance and reminders do not hinder us, but rather may increase independency or put a paranoid parent’s mind at rest.
The development of this technology is an interesting avenue with many benefits in sectors such as health, but we shouldn’t fall into the tech trap. Being a capable human being who can coexist harmoniously with technology as well as thrive without it should be a New Year’s resolution we’re all willing to try. It’s definitely one of mine!