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Bill Bennett

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Smart homes – For people who love to tinker

At The Verge Thomas Ricker writes a review of a smart home light switch.

See: Philips Hue Wall Switch Module review: smart-ish, at last – The Verge

The switch in question controls Philips Hue lights, nothing else. It won’t control your standard light bulbs. It’s expensive. To use it you need to dig around in your house wiring. Strictly speaking that’s a job you should leave to a qualified tradesperson. Which isn’t cheap.

If you buy it you can play with your home’s lighting. Each bulb can be any one of millions of colours.

Yes, infinitely controllable lighting could be nice.

In theory it could be useful and fun. No doubt there will be people reading this who are true believers.

There may even be people who need to control home lights to this degree for some reason. But for most people it is an indulgence. You do it, not because you have to, but because you can.

Smart homes are complicated homes

Smart home technology is still at the stage where it is often time consuming to install and complicated to use. Few people who opt for smart homes do more than scratch the surface.

It reminds me of the early 1980s when I had to buy a soldering iron to make my own home computer. In my case I did this because it was my job. Most people who went down this route saw it as a hobby.

After hours spent soldering components you get an early 1980s home computer that couldn’t do much. But hey! It’s a home computer. Never mind there were few practical applications and each model of home computer was incompatible with every other model.

You could say the same things, about smart homes.

Eventually the technology will come good. Someone will develop the Ms-Dos and IBM PC of the smart home era. The applications will follow.

But for now, it is an expensive toy for people who have time on their hands and lives that clearly are not already complicated enough. There will be people who enjoy the challenge; people who enjoy tinkering.

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