We recently read an article in the New York Times (Sep 6, 2015) by Allison Arieff titled “The Not Very Smart Home”. (Online the title appears to be “The Internet of Way Too Many Things” – not sure why the difference)
She seems to hit certain dilemmas in our minimalist/simplification/environmentally-friendly quest right on the head. We often comment about some of the same things she mentions in her article.
“…a night light that “listens” for your smoke detector to go off and then calls your smartphone to let you know your house might be on fire.”
“Technology is integrated not because it is necessary, but because the technology exists to integrate it.”
Wouldn’t it be better if the night light called the fire department??? Why spend $100 for the special sensor night light?? Our fire/smoke detector is connected to the house alarm system. If they get an alarm, they call the fire department.
The internet has changed the way we look at so many things. Just because it can be controlled by a smart phone doesn’t make it better. What about the planned obsolescence aspect of the internet integrated items? How soon will that night light need to be replaced with a “new and improved” device?
We are guilty of one internet integrated item – our thermostat – that allows us to turn it on, off, or change the temperature with our smartphone. This is a luxury item – we knew this when we purchased it a few years ago. We both agreed to it. It would be silly to replace it now. This internet integrated device is not necessary, not environmentally friendly, serves only to turn on and off the heating/cooling unit, and possibly has a privacy/security issue (as do all internet connected items).
So if an item is “bad”, should we keep using it? Guess we would need to consider the ramifications of replacing the item. For our thermostat, is there such a thing as an environmentally friendly thermostat? When you search for one, they market the environmentally friendly ones as programmable (as is ours). They all seem to have electronic components that are not eco-friendly to dispose of. Wouldn’t it be better to not use the AC or heater as often? Change the base temperature settings? Wear sweaters in the winter? Drink plenty of iced fluids during the summer?
What item (luxury or not) do you control with your smartphone or have connected through the internet?