2.4 IT systems at home
Most homes in the UK contain a variety of systems for entertainment, lighting, security, heating and so on. The idea of a smart home is to integrate the control of these systems. So, for example, if you are away from home and want to make sure the house is warm for when you get back, you could call the house and switch the central heating on.
We aren't going to go into any more detail about how the smart home works, but the following activity uses some of the data from a survey about smart homes for you to develop your skills in interpreting data. We will look at how a survey like this can be interpreted.
Using the graph in Figure 1, answer the following questions:
What percentage of people thought that being able to control devices in the home when they were out would be useful to them?
What percentage didn't think safety or security were important?
Did more people like or dislike the idea of one remote control to control everything in the home? Why do you think people might not like this idea?
If you were responsible for marketing smart homes, which of these factors (control, safety/security, single remote) do you think you would be emphasising?
Would you like to live in a smart home? Why? Or why not?
59% – I included those who strongly agreed as well as those who agreed with the first statement (19% plus 40%).
17% – I included those who strongly disagreed and those who disagreed with the second statement (4% plus 13%).
46% liked the idea of one remote control, while 41% disliked the idea – so there was not a lot of difference. Perhaps some people were worried that it would be easy to lose or that a single control would be too complex and therefore difficult to operate.
I'd probably be emphasising safety and security as 70% of the respondents thought these were important factors.
I'd like the convenience but I'd have to be sure that everything was going to work. I think I'd be a bit concerned about the house taking over control of my life!
If you want to find out more details about this smart home project you can visit www.jrf.org.uk/housingandcare/smarthomes/default.asp (link accessed 6 September 2006).