Three nights before Christmas 2016, I was standing in my bathroom when a gallop broke out across my chest. It was ventricular tachycardia, a dangerous kind of arrhythmia where only one side of the heart pumps and does so at high speed, denying blood from moving through it. At the age of 23, I’d had arrhythmias all my life, but had never felt anything like this. Twenty minutes later, with the arrhythmia still going, I was in the back of a parked ambulance. Alone with the EMTs, I braced for the shock of a defibrillator.
The pain was overwhelming, like…
A smart pet feeder is a great idea in theory: It can be controlled from your phone, making it simple to schedule feedings and giving you the ability to feed your cat or dog from anywhere in the world.
Except, it turns out, if the device manufacturer’s servers aren’t online. My own smart pet feeder’s maker, Petnet, has struggled with reliability for years — leaving my cat, Mika, hungry on a number of occasions — and if the company were to go out of business, my cat feeder would turn into a very expensive paperweight.
Sometime late last year I realized that I wanted my ordinary bathroom mirror to be more like the future we were promised in the movies.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone selling the product I was looking for. The individual parts, however, were fairly easy to get. A number of people have done similar custom builds recently, but I had something different in mind.
The connected home market isn’t always obvious in how it benefits you, but I think lighting is one of the places it makes sense — if it’s done right.
I began installing “smart” bulbs in my home when I lived in Europe, slowly upgrading as I replaced burned-out lights. I admit to becoming something of an obsessive: I worked to add perfect lighting for each room, setting the bulbs to automatically turn on at the right time, and barked at Google Assistant to throw on mood lighting.
But when I recently moved to North America, there was a problem: None…
Where there is the internet, there is malware. As we start to bring connected lightbulbs, washing machines, and refrigerators into our homes, that relationship could be more dangerous than ever.
Last week, the Silex malware gave us a fresh glimpse into what it means for our “internet of things” (IoT) devices to become the target of a major attack, rendering them completely useless. Silex invisibly wipes the firmware on affected devices, not unlike what we saw with the BrickerBot attack in 2017 or the Mirai botnet, which produced record-setting denial-of-service attacks as hundreds of thousands of connected webcams, routers, DVRs…
How much did consumers spend on smart-home technology in 2018? $31.4 billion. That’s how much, according to Statista. By 2022, it’ll be almost double that.
The obvious leader in all this — the company that owns a significant share of that smart-home industry — is Amazon, which has reportedly sold 100 million Alexa devices. Google, which sells a whole collection of Google Assistant-supporting home devices, controls another chunk. The two companies are locked in a battle for the heart and soul of your smart-home experience, with Apple’s HomeKit standing off to the side. …
It’s a function of our collective laziness that turning Christmas lights on and off is a process worth automating. I’m not pointing fingers here: I’m lazy person number one and have been trying for years to get my Christmas lights on some sort of automated schedule. Light timers, little pluggable things that tick off the minutes until they hit a preset hour — they’ve all been in my home for years.
More recently, though, that desperate need to avoid flipping a physical switch has been married with my steady efforts to add smart devices to my home.
The Internet of Things arrived with a bang a few years ago, and it feels like we haven’t quite recovered. Everyday appliances are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled by default, even when you don’t need them to be. (Smart shoes that lose the ability to lace up when the connected app goes down, anybody?) Many of these devices work no better than their offline alternatives, and you effectively give manufacturers carte blanche to eavesdrop on your usage habits when you buy them. And if you do buy a connected device, you can rest assured it won’t work perfectly forever.