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IT: device to device communication
IT: device to device communication

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6.7 Benefits of living in a smart home

I can think of a number of possible benefits – apart from the obvious one about relieving me of the tedium of performing a lot of routine tasks. The first one I thought about was the potential saving in energy the technology could bring – for instance by switching off devices (TV, radio, hifi, heaters, lights) when there's no one there to use them.

The second advantage I thought about was the potential for independence that smart home technology could provide for the elderly or infirm – a key consideration in an ageing society. As well as automating routine tasks, devices could feed information back to a monitoring system so that if, for example, a kettle hasn't been used or a door opened for some time, carers are alerted to a potential problem.

I also thought about the potential it could provide for me to monitor and control my home remotely. If I found I was going to be unexpectedly late returning home I could arrange for curtains or blinds to be drawn, a light to be switched on to deter intruders, and the heating cycle to be delayed. I could also ask my house to report certain conditions to me when I was away – burst pipes, equipment failures or overheating appliances, for example. I wondered whether insurance companies might charge lower premiums for household insurance if such monitoring systems were in place. I also wondered whether the ability to monitor buildings from a remote location might lead to crime reduction.

With suitably placed closed-circuit TV cameras, a smart home network could help parents keep an eye on children in different rooms. Indeed, with a smart home network linked to the internet, parents could also monitor older children at home on their own.