Iíve been increasingly upset that I canít keep up with my house when Iím at work, the grocery store, or on vacation. I know my house would enjoy an occasionally check in from me. Yet no matter how much I try itís difficult to even peek in on my house when Iím away.
The first stage of moving your house to the cloud has been realized already. Today the customer purchases a kit filled with cameras and cables (wired or wireless) designed to bring peace of mind by offering up time delayed snapshots of their castle. However, setting up your local network to allow access into the home is complicated and potentially unsafe. Alternatively you can use one of the services that typically come bundled with the newer remote monitoring cameras. These services act as an intermediary, requiring you to sign into a portal to link back to your camera. They can also store the video and snapshots in case your local connection goes down.
Security monitoring companies already offer Internet based monitoring, making this field young but growing. It offers real time monitoring, something a traditional POTS line canít provide. But these systems, once extended to the Internet, can send a steady stream of notifications to your pager from your connected home.
Stage 2 of the Cloud House involves making sure all the conveniences of your home can be addressed individually, giving you supreme control over everything from ambient lighting to the comfort of the air around you. Most common elements are:
- Vacation Mode
Today you can use individual apps to manage these types of services. A universal place to view them all shouldnít be nirvana, but ďStandard.Ē These services all have local versions that run on your PC or Smartphone, but few bring them all together in any meaningful way. Imagine coming home and from your kitchen touchscreen you can:
- Check the family voicemail
- Check the family email
- View status alerts from any sensor
- Look at upcoming appointments on the family calendar
- Cool down or warm up your home
Cloud technologies such as Unified Communications are a natural player in this space and if combined with monitoring brings the cloud house into focus.
Stage 3 involves bringing all of your non-critical systems (i.e. fun) into the command center. Over the last few years the industry exploded with a myriad of ways to send your entertainment throughout the house, though not always satisfactorily.
- Music (radio or home library)
- Video (movies, TV, streamed content)
- Communication (intercom)
- Relaxation (stress relief through lighting and sound)
Standards like AirPlay and streaming have brought us audio and video pleasure from anywhere inside or outside the house into the room where we want it most. Bringing it all together though has been hard. Often times you need separate apps to do each task. Imagine a plug-in system that can add each new toy in your house to the handy kitchen touch screen? Need to add a new device? Pick it from the list of supported plug-ins. You can turn on music in the den but pipe it to the kitchen as well.
The Cloud House: A solution in need of standardization
Many of these services already function as cloud technologies.† With the right combination of messaging, information sharing, and streaming services your cloud house is more than a marketing term. It could serve as a central command center bringing together a myriad of services such as AT&Ts Universal Communications and or even Facebook. It should give you access to your homeís lighting, security, and entertainment. As the central hub for family related communication, it must shoulder the family calendar, email account, even your grocery list and make the whole funnel available as an app on your phone.
When the Cloud House calls to tell you the dog is misbehaving, perhaps then weíve reached nirvana.