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    Inside a Super Smart Home

    Inside a Super Smart Home

    Internet of Things expert Stacey Higginbotham talks about her connected home in Austin, Texas

    What is it really like to live in a home where the devices are connected to the cloud? Stacey Higginbotham, of Stacey on IoT, podcaster, and writer (formerly with Fortune) knows all about it.

    Her family cohabitates with more than a dozen smart items, including thermostats, a TV, shades, music and even her Christmas lights. Recently, Stacey moderated a panel of experts from Chamberlain, Honeywell, IFTTT (If This, Then That), Samsung SmartThings, Schlage and Skybell.

    We wanted the scoop on how her smart home has impacted her day-to-day life.

    Q How do you define a smart home?
    A We aren't there yet, but it will be when your home adapts relatively easily to what you need based on the context it and other connected services have.

    Q What’s connected in your home?
    A The garage, the car, some locks, doorbells, lights, my oven, my kitchen scale, my TV, my music system, my shades, my thermostats, my closet, my laundry room, my socks and more.

    Q Is your life a lot different now?
    A The funny thing about connected devices is many of my automations fade into the background. So you only notice them when they break. So, it's not substantially different, but things are more convenient.

    Q When you invite us over for dinner – thanks – what’s the first thing we’d notice about your home?

    A It depends on if the house is clean. But otherwise, the first thing you'd notice is likely the video doorbell, but honestly I'd rather you didn't. Instead I want as many of my devices as possible to match my home, so their "techiness" isn't clear.

    Q What’s one word you’d use to describe your home?
    A Modern

    Q Are there any challenges with connecting your home?
    A Keeping these running can be hard, and sometimes it's a pain to rewire light switches. It's also tough when you get something that doesn't work well that required an install. When something costs a lot and doesn't work (when it's dumb replacement worked just fine) your family is going to get mad at you.

    Q What advice do you have for people who want to connect their home?
    A Pick a use case that makes sense for you. Then find a device that does it. I like to start people with the Amazon Echo Dot and a connected switch for a lamp if they just want "a smart home."

    Q What’s your wish for the home of the future?
    A I'd like my home to respond to my family without me having to program it. And while I am wishing, I'd like a meal-making robot that also folds laundry.

    Bruce Anderson

    Home and Building Technologies