Google’s annual development conference, under way in San Francisco, is focused on an “Internet of Things.” This involves, say, your car talking to your house while you are driving home, telling your house to adjust the thermostat to the temperature you want. That might be based on the temperature inside your car, so that when you go inside your house, your body won’t have to put up with adjusting to a different temperature.
Or, while driving home, you could punch a button on your smartphone, or your smartwatch, and have your house run a bath for you, turn on the television program you want to watch or let the dog out of its kennel so it can come and greet you when you arrive.
You could even turn on your desktop computer and run all the emails you might have so they would be ready to read when you came home, even though you already will have read them on your phone or your watch.
A person could be excused for wondering why one would need all that automation, since turning stuff on isn’t all that onerous. I can’t remember every feeling put upon by having to set the thermostat when I walk into the house. That is usually because Mrs. Doud already has the temperature set where she wants it, and that is where it likely would stay, even if my car managed to turn it up or down a little.
“Tell the car to leave the thermostat alone,” she might say. “I want the temperature just where I’ve set it.
You also might soon have a gizmo which will turn off lights when you leave a room or turn them on when you enter. We have some of them here at the newspaper, but they don’t work very well. They have a tendency to turn the lights off without warning while you are still in the room trying to get something done. I could do without that, because it makes me think the power has gone off, which usually means the computers are going to crash. But then I move a little bit and the power comes right back on. Except when I happen to be taking a nap, of course.