ORLANDO — There are a lot of ways to take pride in your home. You can have a beautifully decorated home, a stylishly designed home, an environmentally-friendly “green” home, or one in a top-rated neighborhood.
One of the latest trends, though, is something else entirely: the “smart home.” In the age of advanced technology, virtually every room in your house can be wired for maximum convenience.
And that means a host of your older appliances may no longer be needed, as the more technologically savvy versions replace them. When the need for what’s new replaces usefulness, many of our older belongings—including our tech products are sent straight to the trash.
But that’s not what you want to be doing.
Instead, you should be developing a habit of recycling your older appliances and electronics, because when you do that, you’re contributing to a cleaner environment and a healthier world for all of us.
What Is Smart Home Technology?
What can technology do for you and your home? Similar to the way smart phones transformed the way we communicate, smart homes have the potential to change the way we live in our houses every day.
Consider your kitchen. As the most frequented room in your home, you can improve the usefulness of your kitchen space with a host of new devices. Those could include:
• The fridge magnet that creates grocery lists;
• The Skura Style sponge that alerts us when it needs to be changed;
• The coffee machine powered by your smartphone.
Another new trend in the “smart home” category is the home that helps Baby Boomers ease into their senior years. While they may be having more challenges with mobility, sight or hearing, many of them still want to live independently and smart home technology is offering them a host of new advantages.
That includes electronically controllable devices for their thermostats, lighting, and motion sensors.
Home automation is no longer the stuff of science fiction novels or the television cartoon “The Jetsons.” More and more of our homes are being run by remote control.
Today, remote control can be used to activate virtually every household appliance. Just a few smart devices with the right software can easily link these devices together. And with the introduction of wireless technology, options have expanded considerably. It’s all about linking those multiple automation products together with a smart hub.
Amazon Echo was launched in 2014 and has done just that, enabling buyers to create a smart home by using a hub to control devices.
A Wi-Fi-enabled smart hub is the place to start. Suddenly you can have all your lights connected to your home’s Wi-Fi.
This technology is becoming more mainstream. You can arrange to have your thermostat raise the temperature in the house when you get up in the morning, your coffee maker to start brewing at the regular time, and even have your television set programmed to your favorite shows. Or you can arrange for your air conditioning unit to power down when you leave the house to save energy.
And that’s just your morning.
Today, there are even property developers building new homes with connectivity in mind, while companies like AMP Smart help people with existing homes get them upgraded.
Why Technology Doesn’t Sit Still for Long
The irony here is that no one knows how quickly these technological advances will become obsolete. Anyone who owns a smartphone knows that it doesn’t take long before a new version is out and their existing model seems hum-drum.
In the meantime, the ranks of companies getting into the smart home field keep expanding. Google is now promoting a line of smart devices and speakers, including the Google Home Mini. Once you download the Google Home Mini app onto your phone, it will teach you how to use it to request information, set timers and control the other smart devices you own.
As the technology for new devices continues to improve with advanced sophistication, some of these hubs will become obsolete. And it’s expected that consumers will continue riding the wave of smart home advances.
That puts these consumers in the same position they’re in when they decide to replace their smartphones, laptops, tablets, flat screen television sets, and other electronics: what to do with them once they’re no longer in use.
All electronics can easily be recycled by bringing them to a company like Great Lakes Electronics Corporation, which will take your e-waste products, dismantle them, and recover the parts that can be reused to make new products.
More importantly, doing so helps prevent these devices from getting into public landfills, where the chemicals inside them can seep into the ground and contaminate the soil and nearby water.
That’s a disastrous scenario that poses health risks to our wildlife and to anyone living nearby. This is also a situation that’s entirely avoidable if we simply recycle our used electronics instead.
The same is true with our aging appliances, which can be taken to a recycling company like GLE Scrap Metal, which can recover the metals used in those appliances and recycle them for future use.
In both instances, the advances in smart home technology are making the recycling industry more critical than ever. Not only is this industry creating jobs as it expands, but it’s also playing a crucial role in using recycling to help protect our environment and keep us all cleaner from the potential risks of discarded e-waste.
Now it’s up to the same consumers who welcome the advances in our smart home technology to also recognize the clear benefits of recycling.
Smart home technology is the newest wave, and today a growing number of Americans are riding it.
If you’re ready to let your home work for you, learn more today about all the smart home devices that can help make your home a lot more enjoyable — and easier on a daily basis.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.