The dream of the “smart” home has been around for years, decades even, dating back to science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. Fortunately, the technology to make the smart home a reality now exists without the dystopian settings of Brave New World or 1984. For example, Vivint, a home automation company, offers a home automation package that helps parents keep track of their kids via live feeds accessible from smartphones, tablets and computers.
Ok, so maybe there are some echoes of 1984 after all.
However, there are more straightforward conveniences being made available, such as Lockitron, a product which lets home owners lock and unlock their front door's deadbolt from practically anywhere in the world. On the user's side, all that's required is the accompanying smartphone app, while a Web-based interface makes it possible for any mobile device to harness Lockitron's functionality.
On the lock's side, installation is quick and easy, requiring only that the Lockitron unit be installed over top of any deadbolt lock. Earlier iterations of the product involved replacing the whole lock and handle, but the latest version being showcased is much simpler.
More advanced features include being able to add friends to a list of authorized users, making it easy for them to get into your house to, say, feed your pets while you're out of town; with built-on Bluetooth capability, Lockitron can detect when an authorized user is approaching and will unlock the door automatically; it can even detect when someone is knocking and will send a notification when this occurs.
All in all, Lockitron adds a lot of convenience which takes the home one step closer to the smart homes dreamt of in classic science fiction. The only worry is that a Lockitron system may end up being less secure than a traditional lock as someone could hack your network to gain access. However, peer-to-peer carsharing company Getaround this year moved offices and trusted Lockitron to secure its facilities, so maybe such worries are unfounded.
Lockitron is available for pre-order now and will be available as of May 2013.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey