First off, sorry for the third smart home posts in as many weeks. You will forgive me though when you hear about Logitech’s Harmony Elite. Remember when universal remotes were all the buzz? They were those big, futuristic-looking devices that could control your TV, VCR, and cable box while replacing three device-specific remotes? Maybe you still use one. No shame if you do. What 2018 has brought us, however, is the universal smart home device. It is kind of exactly what it sounds like.
Little confused? Let me explain.
When we explored smart home technology three weeks ago, we looked at individual apps and pieces of technology that help make your home ‘smart‘. These explorations included door locks controllable from your phone, showers that turn on automatically, and light bulbs that (almost) think for themselves. The thing about these individual units, however, is they all work independently of each other. Kind of a drag. The Harmony Elite set out to change this, bringing them all together.
The Harmony Elite lets all of your smart technology interact together over the internet of things. And rather than these gadgets making your life only incrementally easier, the Harmony Elite sets up entire moments in your house which entirely change how you live.
To start, you create pre-set functions. Some of the presets are simple, like replacing the basic functions of a universal remote. For example, if you have a separate TV, audio-receiver, and cable box, a Harmony Elite will turn on every unit when you press the ‘Watch TV’ button. Though the initial configuration takes a few minutes, this will be quickly forgotten once you realize the time you save going forward. And once you have basic commands mastered, such as the one mentioned above, you can start getting creative.
For example, say your favourite hockey team is the Montreal Canadiens. You can now embrace this passion (obsession) through a customized setting on your Harmony device. With a click of a button, you can simultaneously have the channel switch directly to your favourite sports channel and change your smart LED light bulbs to be the team colours of blue and red while your speakers are set to an optimal sound level to enjoy the game.
Another example. Maybe you decide to set a timer in conjunction with your bedtime. By the time the timer reaches zero (and you’re fast asleep), your house’s lights will be off, shades lowered, all of your appliances are powered off, and doors locked. You can now sleep soundly, knowing your safe from unlocked doors and still-powered on appliances. This is all because of smart technology.
One more example. You program Harmony to feed your fish, water your plants, vacuum your floor and run your dishwasher, all automatically, and all while you are at work. By the time arrive home, your chores are complete, and you can focus on more important things (like cheering on the Canadiens).
Beyond providing minor conveniences, what this technology will do is change how we live in our houses. No longer will your stereo receivers or entertainment units be visible. Instead, they will be hidden and only accessible by your Harmony Elite, creating a seamless and futuristic integration in your living space. These are not limited to home entertainment systems though, as smart technology has already reached light switches, windows, and appliances. They will all be designed imaginatively, based on how people will use spaces in their home in the future rather than how people have used spaces in the past. Similar to modular furniture, these new additions will change how we see our houses.
And although this future talk may not speak to you now (pun intended), there is no doubt house and product offerings will reflect these new technologic advances. Before technology like Harmony entered the market, smart devices existed separately from one another and were added to houses as homeowners saw fit. Because they now work together, our behaviours will begin shifting to accommodate these changes. Changes like this are especially true with housing, especially with their design and function.
So don’t worry yet. If you are apprehensive about adopting new technology, you still have time. However, get ready, because change is coming.