Friday, May 19, 2017

Not just about the Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

A Smart Home
Right now in 2017 Marcus and Agata are building a Smart Home.  What does this mean?

It means at the minimum a Home Infrastructure containing monitoring and control devices. For example: Thermostats, Motorised control valves and pump Switches to control the Central Heating

It means position sensors tracking our precise Position outside of the home and our position inside the home.

It means Hubs and Routers and Controllers that act on our position and time of day and other sense data to turn on Security Alarms or other systems like the Television and Radio.

And at the periphery, we call the easy bit, it is devices like Amazon Show, Amazon Echo or Google Home to front end and provide a voice interface

And Smart Work

Home and Car Cortana support

Right now the demos are a little contrived, but consider what progress has been made in the last 12 months with regards to helping with your work diary and commute when circumstances change.

Back to Echo Show
Please watch the video several times.  OK, it's a bit cheesy in places but it tries to push into the demographics young people, old people, parents to make its case.

Since we have been test implementing and designing our Smart Home for over 6 months now we actually begin to see the possibilities.

Some Pre-Requisites
Even as a stand alone communication device, if hassle free then the Echo Show will have application.  It will be a little stand alone Oracle and communication portal at the very least.  Next step: Control of your home, however this will also require

- Your familiarity with the Internet
- A decent Internet Connection  (lets say 20Mbit/s and above)
- Money. (Home Automation is not cheap)
- Integration: Currently many silo, incompatible standards exist.  So you'll either pay a special company big money to implement from their fast ageing, single vendor and limited existing catalog, or do battle to understand what is possible to implement yourself today, and hopefully in such a way that if standards change in 12 months you don't have to trash your whole investment.

Also beware that self-build may require perseverance, glue code, deep Googling skills, and phone-a-IT-friend support.

Just one More thing

It's the Internet Stupid
Recently I was actually threatened, I mean threats of Intimidation and arguably Physical  violence for my assertion that if you today you are a young person,  say under 30, social interaction in the Digital Sphere is the new normal.

To dive further.  The Caveats are:  you live in a First World country,  where the Internet is freely available and at speeds (say) of over 20 Mbits/second on your phone via 4G.  And at modest prices. You are aged under 30.

If you are uninterested in all of Smartphones, Facebook, GooglePlus, All Email, WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube, Twitter. If you purposefully shun any and all forms of digital communication then

Something is not quite right.

I can begin to make excuses for the older Generation.  For Pensioners who never grew up with even computers, PC's or Tablets,  they have a plausible excuse not to be interested. Although I can relate to the number of Senior Citizens who once they have discovered the Internet, the World Wide Web, in places like the UK Library, freely admit that it has changed their world for the better.  Silver surfers I think they are called in England.

Of course, in the West we have the freedom to choose.  But if we all, or even a significant minority expressed our 'rights' to not join our digital world, or in a Read Only way, i.e.  just take and not contribute, imagine how much poorer our society would be.

And in a matching way, if you still believe the Internet is un-important, or irrelevant then I have to disagree with you strongly.

The Internet today, and it's availability at speed to your individual household is becoming as critical as Physical Roads were in the 20th century.   To continue with the analogy, it is the Digital Highway, and without its delivery to you,  your basic understanding of it, and participation and contribution to it, all of our lives are the poorer.

Get on board.  Please, and Pretty please.

JOT: Echo Show
SNL: Amazon Echo Silver