have you talked to your refrigerator lately?
By: Thomas M. Ciesla
Originally published in Houston House & Home Magazine; July, 2002.
Article has been reformatted for online publishing
Stuck in traffic on the Katy Freeway and already late for a dinner meeting, Jennifer decides to call home.
“Hi Peter, I'll be home late tonight.”
Peter replies, “All right, I'll wait up for you.”
As Jennifer nears home later that night, she calls again, “Hi Peter, I'm about five minutes away, please start the Jacuzzi for me.”
“Okay, hurry home.”
Is Peter the most understanding husband in the world? Well, not exactly. Peter is the name of Jennifer's smart house system that is equipped with word recognition technology and a male computer-generated voice. In the 1990's a house of average intelligence could water the lawn, turn lights on and off, alert the police of an intruder, and control interior temperatures without your assistance. Today, however, a clever house will email you at work when you leave a burner on; contact the dishwasher serviceman when it senses a component failure; have your favorite music playing and display the latest headlines on you flat screen TV when you arrive in the evening. The Smart House, once the stuff of dreams, is now a reality thanks to advances in computer technology and the phenomenal growth of the Internet.
What Is A Smart House?
A successful smart house removes the drudgery of repetitive taks with a level of system intelligence to make the home a safer, more enjoyable space. It oversees the actions of multiple components by using a computer "brain" to communicate over an internally wired "nervous system". The concept uses networking technology and software programs to provide seamless communication between these typically unconnected systems. Your smart house can control light and heat by opening and closing drapes or blinds to save energy.
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