A litle over a year ago, I wrote a post titled, Why Have a Smartphone? I think the questions I raised about them then are valid today. these are expensive devices that we seem to be unable to be without. Of course, times have changed and having an old-fashioned landline really isn’t possible for most people today – if the phone company even offers the service anymore (most don’t for homes). People are so attached to these devices that they won’t even go to the bathroom without carrying it along. Yes, I’ve witnessed this. We. love our technology, no matter the shape it takes or the function(s) performed.
I don’t think that says a lot for us. Look around: watch television and we can find smart televisions, refrigerators, stoves, pretty much any appliance is now either capable, or soon will be, of being attached to the Internet. Is that a good thing? I guess there’s both positive and negatives: the refrigerator can tell you when you’re out of an item (supposedly), and just by telling the stove to place burner one on medium high, or preheat the oven, it can save time from actually having to take two seconds to manually adjust it. does any of this make our lives more efficient? What happens when the Internet in your area is down? Will anyone know how to change the channel on their TV, adjust their air conditioning or heat, know which perishables need restocking or know how to turn on their stove or preheat their oven?
then there’s the cost of replacing perfectly good appliances with the latest technology. The cost varies based on the capabilities the consumer desires, but just taking a quick search online? Anywhere from $2,200 up to nearly $11,000 for a refrigerator. Here’s the Samsung site. Notice they refer to these refrigerators as the Family Hub(tm). Go ahead, browse and see all the applications you can get for your refrigerator. I wonder how much of the information the customer enters within this appliance is sent to the company?
Just like the smartphone, these other smart devices/appliances will eventually become so innocuous in our lives that when it’s not available, for some reason, some will probably have a panic attack. An acquaintance of mine recently told me about having to go to a local convenience store, about a mile from her house. Halfway there, she realized she didn’t have her phone and promptly turned around to retrieve it from home. Think about that for a moment. She was incapable of being without her phone for what turned out to be five minutes. When everything else in our homes are as ubiquitous, will that be a problem when we can’t access something just by speaking to it (if we have to even do that much)?
What happens when everything about our lives, work or home, is connected and we become so used to living that way that the slightest interruption becomes national news? Remember when Nest had an issue with their thermostats? Yes, people could still manually adjust, but then, why spend $300 for something that keeps going off line? Yes, that made national news. Right now, we still have choices as to what comes in the appliances we own (to a degree), but not too far away, when any of us goes to replace anynitem in the kitchen or anywhere else in our homes, we won’t.