Aaron Parecki has been playing around with sensors in his home. He lists the three principles he applies to how his home automation is set up:
- Manual override: Everything automated has to still have the ability to be controlled manually
- Keep it at home: No “cloud” services unless absolutely necessary (e.g. push notifications to a phone)
- Open: Avoid vendor lock-in, use open source and open protocols where possible
These are three principles that make sense in more contexts, where the second principle “keep it at home” I relate to the “useful on its own, more useful when connected to other instances” element that is important to me in thinking about smart homes.
Rather impressive is that Aaron is dropping technology that has been acquired by silos, and breaks those principles after he started using it, and not just uses them to inform buying decisions.
Silo-imprisonment and closed tools result in a smart home that isn’t smart for you, but smart for the vendors. Like how Smart City TM visions were about dull boring security focused panopticons keeping people in check. Not the vibrant community where ideas, people, capital, goods and artisanship recombine into a total so much more than the sum of its parts, where smart technology aids those serendipitous recombinations.
A smart home to me is one that is not just a dwelling but a productive actor (a “MakerHousehold“), for the people that live in it, for its immediate neighbourhood and for the city it is in. This was what I was interested in when shaping the ‘Smart Stuff That Matters‘ unconference last year.
Aaron got me thinking about potential sensors in our home again. Also because data gathering is the starting point for finding points of action. AI for the rest of us I think needs to be based on self collected data around the house / person, mixed with public data for context.
Over the past few weekends I’ve been overhauling my home automation systems. At the core, as I decide what to buy and how to configure it, there are three primary principles