Why Would Anyone Want a Smart Home?

A tech columnist reviews the current state of smart home technology and finds that improvements will be necessary before widespread adoption can be expected.
June 24, 2014, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Christopher Mims has this to say about the current state of smart homes, specifically a retrofitted suburban home in Maryland he visited recently: "If you were hoping for a robotic butler, a fully automated kitchen, or anything that couldn't be accomplished with a minimum of effort in a nonsmart home, you'll have to return to the worlds of science fiction."

What Mims describes the state of smart home technology as a suite of apps, run through smart phones, that might prove too complex for most consumers: "It's this task-driven approach to selling the idea of the smart home—offering a device or kit that solves a specific problem, rather than an all-in-one solution—that seems most likely to overcome the reluctance of most of us to add complexity to our personal sanctuaries."

In fact, "even when smart-home technology works as advertised, the complexity it adds to everyday life outweighs any convenience it might provide."

Mims does acknowledge, however, that the technology is in its earliest stages and is not without potential

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Published on Sunday, June 22, 2014 in The Wall Street Journal
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