The Connected Cottage: Welcome to the Connected Cottage (Part 1)

The Connected Cottage: Welcome to the Connected Cottage (Part 1)

Welcome to The Connected Cottage series. Over 5 days this blog will discuss Connected Home technology as a lead up to Maria’s panel chair at The CSI Converging Home Summit on the 8th of May, 2014.

I live in an 1840s cottage in the middle of London, England. My little “two up, two down” is on one of the oldest lanes in the area with at least one house dating back to the 1600s. They’re all solid brick and, as they’re part of the local history, we’re all in a conservation area. I love restoring and preserving the character of the cottage, but, and it’s a big but, I’m also a techie.

We’ve been enhancing our homes with technology for years now. My cottage already had a sensor-based home security system when I bought it. Then when my wireless signal didn’t work well enough in the different rooms for Skype, I bought a Powerline network adapter. That carries my Ethernet signal over the existing electrical wiring in my home. Even Powerline (and HomePlug) are basically an evolution, albeit now a faster, more robust one with AV capability, from X10 which has been around since 1975.

So why is The Connected Home suddenly one of those new buzzwords thrown around the halls at CES, how is that different from what we’ve been doing for the last four decades and what exactly is The Connected Cottage?

First things first. The Connected Cottage is the practical application of technology to an “old-build” – travelling through thick brick walls, maintaining character and endeavouring not to call the builder in to do it.

This is key because a lot of people speak about the Connected Home from the perspective of “new-build” development – i.e. add in the technology from the ground up when the house is being built. That and many other considerations (e.g. passive solar and integration into the local environment) should certainly be key components of any new build. But the reality is a lot of us live in homes that are already built and we may even want to preserve the character that embodies them.

The Connected Cottage series discusses what makes a home connected and how a connected home becomes smart. And we’ll see how smart the manufactures are too: How easy is it? Does it all work together? What does it look like? And of course, how much does it cost?

As my industry colleague said to me, “Don’t talk to me about a connected fridge. It better not cost more than a normal fridge with an iPad strapped to the front.”

>> Next in the series: Part 2 – The Connected Cottage: An Introduction to Home Technology …

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