I ran across this article in ReadWrite about “The Key to Smart Home Success; Safety and Security”. It’s an interesting read that you might want to check out. Even if you’re not thinking about aging in your home.
Keith and I still have a few years before we’re of official retirement age (i.e. meaning we can sign up for Medicare and Social Security). But that doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about the home we plan to age in and how we can make that home as “senior” friendly as possible.
Obviously, that includes things like downsizing and making bathroom renovations to include grip bars in tubs and showers. But another area that we’ve been reading a lot about is using smart home technology. Hence, my mention of the ReadWrite article above. We’re using smart home technologies now to make our lives easier. Why not think about how smart home technologies can help us age in place?
But here’s the thing. We need to be deliberate when it comes to using smart home technologies. This isn’t simply about buying some gizmo and hooking it up to our home internet. Here are a few things to consider:
Learn how the Internet of Things (ioT) works. The Internet of Things (aka IoT) is a system of interrelated devices that connect with each other via the internet. A common example would be that I can view what’s happening in our home on my Apple Watch and iPhone using my Amazon web camera. The idea is that all of these devices work together to give me – the user – a more valuable experience.
Think ecosystem. Keith and I were big holdouts when it came to the Apple ecosystem. We had iPhones and iPads but held back on iMacs and other devices. We had no idea how great the benefits were of being in the ecosystem. I’m not saying you have to buy Apple products but do think about how your devices will “speak” to or work with each other. Remember, the goal is to make things easier.
Research companies and services. Once we know how IoT works, then it becomes easier to identify those companies that might provide products and services that will be helpful. We can research who has ecosystems and who doesn’t. I hate to say it but the last thing we want to do is invest in products and services that won’t get along with other technologies. Or they sound cool, but they might be out of business in a couple of years.
Know how your home network is set up and functions. Getting internet at home is so easy today. Just call a service provider and they show up with a box and some wires. Just a couple hours later…poof! We have WiFi. But if you’re planning to use smart home technology to help with your aging strategy, then it’s important to know a bit more. Get educated on how the system is set up and how to do basic troubleshooting.
You don’t need to get a degree in engineering to become proficient with smart home technologies. But for all of those people who might be saying, “Ah, who needs the internet?!” keep in mind that smart homes are the wave of the future. It’s what people want. And it’s what companies are making. At some point, it is possible that all we might be able to buy are smart home technologies. No one wants to age behind a steep learning curve.