Munich, 5/1/2040 – Yesterday, I watched an online documentary about the history of smart homes which surprised me. In this documentary, they showed a short report from 2016 (randomly this is my birth year). In this context, the question was raised if smart homes are really the future. In 2016, Facebook was one of the most popular social media platforms and the founder, Mark Zuckerberg, attracted media attention for making his house completely smart – and for developing and programming the entire system by himself. Back then, only 3 to 6 percent of the people in Germany actually used smart home applications. This is unbelievable when you consider that there is hardly anyone today who does not control the lights, the heating system or the webcams with their smartphones. This is no surprise because we really do not live in the Stone Age anymore. My parents often told me about the first years of the new millennium, but I could never really imagine it.

I am 24 years old and I grew up in the age of smart homes. Obviously, everybody knows what this term means, but – for completeness – a definition should not be missing: A smart home is a home that incorporates advanced automation systems in which all of the appliances are connected with each other. Decades ago, maybe it was unimaginable that the appliances are connected and work automatically, but today this is reality. I have to admit that I haven’t thought about this topic so far, because the complete interconnectedness of all things is quite natural for me.
In 2016, people had already developed the technology which we use in a much more advanced way now (I will include the links of the technology from 2016 in the following text for your information). However, I am sure those people could not have imagined what today – almost 25 years later – became normality.

My day starts at 6.30 am sleeping in my bed. I am awakened by a pleasant sound that comes from the built-in speakers in my ceiling. The timer is set to open all of the blinds in my apartment five minutes later and the day is about to start. Because it is January, the sun hasn’t come up yet. Luckily, all my lamps adapt automatically to the lighting conditions in my apartment. When I leave a room, motion sensors register this as well and all of the lamps are turned off. After I get up, sensors detect that the bed is empty. That is why the robotic bed makes itself. It raises the pillows, smooths the blanket and puts the pillows on it again. My bed really is smart – and it saves me time!

While I get ready for work, I switch on the tea maker in the kitchen with my universal app to prepare a peppermint tea. Most of the days, my coffee maker is configured in a way that my coffee is ready when I enter the kitchen. However, since yesterday I feel a little bit weak, I have a scratchy feeling in my throat and also a constant headache. That is why I decided to have a cup of tea today. While the tea cools down, I measure my blood pressure with my mobile blood pressure monitor that is connected with an app. Afterwards, I send my test results with a detailed description of my pains to my doctor. He will provide a clear diagnosis until this evening and will suggest measures. Only when my condition will not improve or get worse, I need to see the doctor in person. Luckily, at least my indoor security cameras have good news for me. The integrated air sensors have shown that the air quality in my apartment is good and that there is a harmless number of germs in the interiors. At least, my condition will not get worse from that.

While having breakfast which I prepared by myself (even I have my limits!), my smart vacuum cleaner drives around the whole apartment – only with a click in the app. It registers dust, absorbs it and mops the floor afterwards. Thus, I save time again and I already have a sparkling clean floor right after breakfast. Nevertheless, I need to hurry afterwards because I have to be at an early meeting in the office. Fortunately, the heating system notices via an app when I leave the apartment and turns down automatically. Today, I really would not have had time for something like that. However, our current environmental situation in 2040 makes it clear that it is crucial to reduce the energy consumption. At least, the worldwide situation was defused by the development in the automotive industry – but that is another story…

During the course of the day, I got startled a little bit because I heard a shrill alarm coming from my smartphone. Via app I got a message that there is a leakage in a tube of my basin in the bathroom and that water is running out – my water sensor detected this. Luckily, the app already shows me a selection of the best available mechanics nearby, so that I only need to choose my favorite. The mechanic can enter my apartment within the next two hours by using a special smartphone code. In this moment, I am glad that door keys don’t exist anymore and that access is possible with an electronic entry system. To see if everything is okay, I also open the live stream of my indoor and outdoor security cameras. In doing so I can observe the repair work – with prior permission from the repair service of course.

Overall, I am not very much concerned about my security at home. Through my security cameras I can always check if something is going on in my apartment. In the event of any suspicious movements my smartphone warns me and I can call the police. However, the number of domestic burglaries has dropped extremely. The main reason for this development is the presence simulation which has been installed in many houses and apartments. Thus, the blinds close when it gets dark and the lighting is switched on in certain rooms to simulate the presence of residents. The safety has increased significantly because potential burglars are deterred off.

I have never thought about smart homes very much, but when I watched the report from 2016 about the evolution of smart homes, I noticed how many advantages this technology has brought us. I can only imagine that the life back then had to be so much more complicated and time-consuming because everything needed to be done manually.

If I would have to tell the people from 2016 something, it would be this: Yes, smart homes are the future, but you don’t have to afraid of the new technology. It will make your life easier so that you have more time to do the things your really enjoy!

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