Currently, the general consensus is that to make our homes smarter, we should connect them to the Internet. This online education for our homes doesn’t seem like much of a problem, that is, until the business whose servers are being used fails, the servers themselves crash, or the company becomes a bit too Big Brother-ish for the homeowner's liking, reports Fast Company.
But what is the alternative? How do we keep our homes smart or make them even smarter if we disconnect them from their main source of education? Well, one of the keys may be to strike a balance between online and offline functionality, it needn’t be all or nothing when it comes to the Internet.
The Protonet ZOE is an early attempt, currently being funded on Indiegogo, at creating a locally controlled smart home hub. The hub currently has a launch price of $300, but the company sees high prices as a temporary problem as cheap hubs will eventually be able to handle what most homes require.
Another step to take is to decrease the necessity for smart home products to use the Internet as a means of communicating with each other; instead, smart home products need to learn to talk to each other directly. In the future, products may be able to forgo the hub entirely and connect with each other, forming a network that covers the entire house.
However, Jared Newman, of Fast Company, believe the biggest challenge involved in making smart homes less Internet-dependent is “finding an alternative to the ability of cloud servers to crunch immense amounts of data.” For example, voice control allows users to control things like lights and door locks with simple voice commands, but only when connected to the Internet.
Many believe the Internet may always help smart homes do extra tasks, but it should not be as critical an aspect in our smart homes as it currently is.