How Smart Will Homes Be In 2020?

With the pervasiveness of the digi-electronic realm, it's of no wonder that the very place in which humans reside is being modified accordingly.

Euphemistically referred to by some as "building automation," the science of "domotics" - literally meaning "home robotics" - is that anent all manner of "smart home" technology. This includes those impressively modernized sensors that could feasibly control everything in one's house, from the lighting and temperature, to security and entertainment media.

Mankind's nascent symbiosis with his electronic tools allows him to become more reliant - or at least less reticent about - inviting more and more of those tools into his extant world.

Nevertheless, a recent report made by the Pew Research Center essentially kiboshes the notion that smart home technology will make the world of human residences appear anything like one would assume from sci-fi books, movies, or TV show expectations.

At least not by 2020, as revealed specifically by the Pew study.

"Hundreds of tech analysts foresee a future with 'smart' devices and environments that make people's lives more efficient," says the analysis stemming from the "some 1,021 Internet experts, researchers, and observers" asked.

"But," the report continues, "[those surveyed] also note that current evidence about the uptake of smart systems is that the costs and necessary infrastructure changes to make it all work are daunting. And they add that people find comfort in the familiar, simple, 'dumb' systems to which they are accustomed."

 "A few years back, BMW and Mercedes Benz had to turn off some of the onboard electronics on their high-end cars because complexity gremlins were making things break," reminds Pew report participant Jerry Michalski, underscoring the notion of "electronic error" that can be just as ubiquitous for many not yet ready to depend on their computers to determine how hot or cold (not to mention safely secure) their house should be.

If, Michalski thus suggests, companies such as those engaged in the luxury automobile industry can't be 100 percent trustworthy in the creation of their electronics, how can humans trust similar companies in the protection/comfort of their homes?

Smart Planet's Joe McKendrick continues the litany of those participants who, like Michalski, feel smart homes will not be quite as prominent a part of the world of 2020 as one might imagine from the preponderance of smart technology elsewhere.

"Bottom line," says McKendrick, "There's still a lot of work to be done, and it will probably take more than a decade to get to the point where homes are successfully talking to utilities, and vice-versa."

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