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Back To Back To The Future Part II

If I had a time machine, I’d go back to 1985 and get myself a job as a consultant with Robert Zemeckis to enhance the technological predictions for 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. And buy a load of shares in Apple.

As predictions went, BTTF wasn’t too shabby:

  1. Virtual Reality? Check
  2. 3D movies? Check
  3. Video Conferencing? Check
  4. News drones? Check
  5. Fingerprint recognition..?

This is where I think Zemeckis was a little short of the mark, and where biometrics and modern home automation have actually advanced beyond the imaginings of 30 years ago.[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″]There’s a particular scene that stuck with me, in which 1985 Jennifer is bundled to her home by two cops. The female officer tells her, “You should reprogramme, it’s dangerous to enter without lights on”, which, in confusion Jennifer repeats, causing the lights to switch on. Snazzy. A bit like the totalitarian state/specialist publication uniforms sported by the police.

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While this is something that exists, and is being done currently, it isn’t quite what home automation can be. Home automation has become a bit more intelligent than that.

Take the Fibaro Home Center 2 as an example, a little beauty that can be the brain of your intelligent home.

Instead of requiring Jennifer to tell the system to turn her lights on, turn up the heat, or ask what the hell’s going on, Fibaro knows what needs to happen, and when.

At home with Fibaro and Smart-i

It’s December, it’s 6pm and I’m walking home from work. It’s brass monkeys and I’m listening to some Cliff Rich-, I mean, The Pixies.

As I approach my front porch, the light within fades up to full brightness and the front door unlocks. I step in, and unlock the inner door with a physical key.

  • Geolocation is fed to the Home Center 2 
  • Within a certain distance of the home, two scenes are triggered
    • 1st scene – the lights in the porch are brought to full brightness using dimmer module which is fitted into the dimmer switch
    • 2nd scene – the Danalock attached to the front door is cycled to unlock position

The music in my headphones is passed seamlessly to my Sonos Play:1. The temperature of the flat is sitting at a very pleasant 20°C.

  • My Sonos system is aware of what I’m listening to on Spotify. As the motion sensor in my living room doorway is triggered, it causes Sonos to continue playing my track. 
  • My geolocation is fed to the Home Center, and when I’m within a given distance, my home will be warmed to an appropriate temperature using my Nest Thermostat.

I walk through to the kitchen to make myself some dinner (scrambled eggs on toast). My toaster is cranked to ‘nuclear’, and before I know it, smoke billows into my kitchen. There’s a whirr, and the acrid cloud is thwarted by the extractor fan, which has just come to life.

  • The smoke and carbon monoxide detector in my kitchen senses the smoke from my toaster and triggers the single relay installed on the extractor fan in my kitchen.

I grab a beer from the fridge and sit down to watch Reservoir Dogs. The light in my living room dims itself.

  • My home media center sends an instruction to the homecenter that a film has been started. This triggers the dimmer module in the living room.

Film over, I leave the living room, and stagger to bed.

Apparently the beer has gone to my head (photographic evidence from the Christmas party confirms my inability to efficiently metabolise alcohol) as such, I forget to lock the front door. I snuggle up and pray to the hangover gods that they may be merciful, as the lights in my room dim, and front door locks.

  • The presence sensors in my flat note that there has been no activity in the living room for more than 3 minutes, and that my media center has been recently switched off (oh and that it’s night time) This triggers all lights in the flat to dim and cycles the Danalock to lock.

The Fibaro Home Center 2 is an excellent entry into home automation, however if security is more your bag, then take a look at the Smart-I range of products that will provide you both security and piece of mind for your home.

At Idency, we will be experimenting with some interesting uses for cutting edge automation and security technology. Watch this space for:

  • Gesture based interaction (think Minority Report)
  • Wearables (like the Apple Watch, but not the Apple Watch)
  • DIY tech (build your own drone?)