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Minka Aire Light WaveCeiling Fan - 52" White
“Your ceiling fan should feel seamless and act as a quiet contribution to your overall design!”
- B. Powers, Interior Designer
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Image from the Warner Bros. Film Her
This much we know—one day soon, we will wake up to conversations like this:
"Start the coffee and open the curtains, please...Should I wear a coat today? Record tonight's game, I'll be home a little late."
Only the person on the other end of the conversation won't be a person at all. It'll be the home itself.
Image from Smartbuilt Home
With everything from Apple's Siri to automated coffee machines, both the technology and our own habit patterns are in place for such a reality. The only barrier to a truly connected smart home, it seems, is how to get all these different devices to speak with one another.
There are a growing number of companies addressing smart home technology, from app developers to light bulb manufacturers. From developing a codified syntax (what language are all our home appliances speaking anyway?) to defining which interface will manage them all (the TV remote, desktop computer, mobile phone), the space is wide open.
Illustration by Jeffrey Bowman for Adweek
As the technology falls into place, consumers will begin to truly reap the benefits of the "Internet of things," in which the vast stores of information out there interact with us on an intimate level. From telling us to leave a little earlier because of heavy traffic to helping us pick an appropriate outfit for the day, the home becomes our personal-assistant, not unlike the operating-system-as-love-interest in the recent Spike Jonze film Her (pictured at the top of the post).
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Of course, those of us in the lighting industry are delighted by the possibilities. Everyone loves the innovative styling of modern lighting fixtures, but just imagine if those fixtures could communicate with us: lighting up as we walk through the door or, better yet, monitoring the music we had been listening to on the car ride home and dimming the lights to fit the mood when we walk through the door. In this regard, the home is no longer just responsive, it's predictive. And that's the essence of smart.
Until the time of the smart home comes, of course we can still bark out orders in the morning. Unfortunately, we'll likely be met with silence or, even worse, a rightfully annoyed spouse.
Images: Architect, Smartbuilt Home
Brent Turner is an architecture, design and art writer who adores elegantly simple distillations of complex design problems. You'll often catch him waxing poetic about how such creative problem solving is not only the essence of a successful art and design practice, but of science, engineering, and well, life in general. A California native, Brent was educated at U.C. San Diego where he was first exposed to clumsy yet endearingly avant-garde institutional art and architecture. In the years since, he has expanded his interest base to include all types of interior, graphic and industrial design. His best personal designs are made with Legos, and it's for this reason that Brent confines his own public creative work to wordsmithing. When he isn't writing, he hosts an art and design podcast called Beer & Tall Buildings.
Brent lives in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles with his cat Buster. If you can't reach him by phone or email, he's most likely on a mountaintop somewhere and promises to call you back as soon as he descends.
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