Headlines and History

Headlines and History

Home Automation, the Smart Home, and the Internet of Things are dominating the headlines in the tech press these days, just as in the photo above one story captivated readers across Europe with the unraveling of peace in the summer of 1914 exactly one century ago. I am not attempting to equate any technology news with that of a tragic conflict that killed 16M people in four years, but there are some lessons from that history.

The assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand 100 years ago this coming Saturday set in motion the von Schlieffen plan by which all the European powers commenced movements based on a strategy devised 9 years earlier. No leaders gave much thought to the then current realities, to the effects on their populations, and to the potential consequences of this set-piece military activation. Events took on a life of their own and spiraled out of control. The eventual outcome, at great societal cost, did little more than sow the seeds of the more decisive WW II a generation later.

Back on point, in the last few weeks we’ve seen Apple announce its HomeKit, Google’s Nest Labs buy Dropcam for $555M, and Manhattan-based Quirky release its Wink standard with 60 new products on deck for July via Home Depot distribution. And, those are just the banner headlines; many smaller deals have crossed my desk as well. Apple, Google, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, and the major security and cable wire-to-the-home providers are all like those European powers in 1914 unleashing their grand plans with little thought to how this all makes sense to the consuming public.

This situation creates a field day for early adopters and experimenters. You can spend the rest of this year trying out new devices that don’t work together and where each requires its own app. If you choose to be such a hobbyist, have fun. If not, let us at BeHome247 make all this much simpler for you.

We applaud all this attention to the home automation market. It confirms what we’ve felt now for several years that this will be a significant part of the homes of today and certainly of tomorrow. It also confirms the choice we have made to rely primarily on the Z-Wave standard, for which there are more than 1000 available devices today and which is superior to WiFi and Bluetooth for an array of home devices where power consumption, low cost, and minimal radio frequency interference are important considerations. By feeding all these Z-Wave signals through our gateway to your WiFi router, we can provide one dashboard on your computer, tablet or phone that controls all in one easy to understand format.

Would you choose VHS or Betamax today? Obviously neither, as they both long have been superseded by newer technologies. But, you can still watch The Wizard of Oz or create and display your own videos in glorious color. The content you want is there, as are the latest ways of accessing it. That’s exactly our mission, to provide software and connectivity that will stand the test of time no matter what hardware components become popular. You don’t have to pay attention to the tech wars of 2014; it’s our job to keep you out of the fray and let you enjoy the benefits of the truly connected home.

Image: Belgian newspaper August 1914 announcing German advance, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.