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What is a smart home?


Apr 2017
In today's day in age of the "internet of things" we are bombarded with ads of a smart home, but what is a true smart home? We now see ads of the smart refrigerator, the smart TV, the smart washer and dryer, the video camera, the thermostat; But do these things really make your home smarter? Sure, each of these devices on their own are smart and have their valid uses, but the issue lies when you look at them as a whole. There is no true communication between each device, rather each one has it's own controller, it's own interface, it's own "Internet". This is where the new concept of the Internet of Things(IoT) comes into play. The end goal of this is to create a standard for all of these devices to speak to each other, but is this a truly plausible outcome? 
Working in the Tech industry, let alone the AV industry, I see things differently than most consumers of this tech. I see the innovations that are being released regularly, but i see many of them fail or fall severely short because the consumers aren't ready, prepared, or just aren't interested in them. This brings me to my next point; can you convince the consumers that what you have to offer is what they need? Much of this tech coming out is expensive. Furthermore, most people just don't need many, if not any of it in their every day lives, especially when it doesn't always make things easier. Sure, If someone wants to control the temperature of their home they can purchase a Nest and be good to go, but then they buy that Newest 4K smart TV with the Nifty smartphone app, and then they buy that Amazon Fire TV, the list goes on and on. The common trend with all of these is they are to be controlled by a remote control, or often times your phone, and lets face it, people want that phone control, or else they wouldn't have gotten these features in the first place. However, how much is to much when you have to open the Sony app to change the channel and then switch to the Nest App to change the temperature, and then change to the Amazon app to change shows on Netflix(or the Netflix App). The moral of this story is a standardization is needed, but is it here yet?
For the average person a true smart home is not within reach. What I mean by a true smart home is a home that can be controlled by any number of devices, but is capable of controlling everything within the home. I work with Crestron and AMX. These two companies are two of the leaders in true automation systems, and when someone says their smart home, I can't help but laugh. To me, when someone says they have a smart home after installing a smart TV, a digital smartphone enabled thermostat, let alone anything else, it's as if they just ate French Fries and say they got their vegetables for the day; Sure, it Kinda makes sense, but in the true meaning, it just doesn't fit the bill.
I said earlier that these true automation systems are out of reach of the general population, and unfortunately, it's true. This isn't so much on the affordability front, although these applications are rather pricey, but rather on the knowledge needed to set the systems up, let alone program them with closed source programming libraries/environments. With that said, you just can't find a system out there utilizing the Internet of Things that can provide lighting/Shade control, TV/Projector control, Lighting control, Full Audio/Theater control, HVAC and any number of RS-232, Network or Relay controlled devices. 
But then again, The general population doesn't care about most of this which brings us here. How much is to much? Would you be willing to spend large sums of money to have a True Smart home/Automation system installed, or would you be willing to settle with just a few devices haphazardly working, albeit not together, to form your perfect smart home?

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