Homes of the Future – Here Today
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is – without a doubt – the most widely covered trade show in the world.
Jam packed exhibits filled three mammoth halls and most attendees set their sites on those companies unveiling all the latest and highly-anticipated “electro-techno” wonders in TV, audio and computer stuff.
However, knowing there is so very much more to see, we breezed right by the obvious and on to those areas we know are especially of interest to homeowners. Like appliances…wow!
Imagine combining a refrigerator and an oven. The folks at Duck Creek Energy did and added space-age mini-refrigeration (developed by NASA) to existing oven and microwave technology – along with remote access and control via personal computers and web enabled cell phones – to create a prototype refrigerator/oven worthy of the Jetsons.
Soon, your oven will keep food a cool 38-degrees all day until you’ve pre-programmed it to switch over to the “cook” mode. And when you come home, you’ll have a hot home cooked meal ready and waiting. Oops…working late at the office, stuck in traffic, change of plans? No problem. Just change commands, by computer or phone, and it’ll be ready when you are. While not yet on the market, it soon will be. For more info on when and where call 440-838-5135.
Energy conservation was also featured, with more products carrying and promoting the now familiar “Energy Star” label. To date, consumers have purchased over 630 million electronic products with the Energy Star label. Last year alone, it saved enough electricity to power 10 million homes and reduced air pollution equivalent to that of 10 million cars. It’s a good thing. Look for it and buy it. Go to www.energystar.gov for more info.
Other nifty gizmos and gadgets included the TeleZapper, which eliminates annoying telemarketer calls. Just plug it into any phone jack and then plug in your phone line. Nine out of ten telemarketing calls are dialed by computer. Now when you (or your answering machine) pick up such a call, it detects it in less than a second and “zaps” it with a reverse signal that says your number is disconnected. It is then permanently removed from their list, which means they won’t be calling again and it won’t be passed on to others. Before you know it (for about 50 bucks) these annoying calls will just about stop all together. For more info call 1-888-217-9732 or go to www.telezapper.com.
Another neat idea was mini video cameras that look like spotlight bulbs, especially good for added outdoor security. Now when something goes “bump in the night” – you can see what’s out there (whether or not you also have a motion-sensor controlled light fixture).
Just screw the SecureView light bulb camera into any socket. The video signal travels over your home’s existing electrical wiring without additional drilling or cables. Just plug the small decoder box into a wall socket and connect the video cable to your TV. That’s all there is to it. These Security Camera System Packages are easily relocated and also have built-in infrared to see in the dark. Both outdoor PAR-38 and interior R-30 style bulbs are available. For more information, go to www.seaview.com.
Perhaps of greatest interest were the model “concept” homes showing how many of today’s newest technologies are being brought together to make our lives better, more entertaining and more efficient – in ever so many ways.
One was the CEDIA house by the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. Here we experienced the “e-home” with mini-LCD video monitors; touch screen controls and keypads for data entry, strategically placed all throughout. The result? Vast programming capability that fully automates everything from heating and cooling to the elimination of tedious repetitive tasks like pre-setting household lighting for various needs (such as cleaning or entertaining) and closing or opening drapes at certain hours (to protect furniture and carpets).
The CEDIA house, chock full of small wall mounted and/or flip-down screens for TV entertainment, visual monitoring and entering control commands for whole-house efficiency and optimum energy savings, will soon be the norm. For more information on structured cabling in San Francisco, visit the page for more info.
Bottom line? Better plan ahead, wherever and whenever you can, for all the wonderful stuff that’s just around the corner. When remodeling or building, use upgraded wiring (at least CAT-3 or CAT-5 cable) and install conduit (electric metallic tubing) so you can fish in new wires without tearing up walls.
Wiring today? Think tomorrow.