Joanna Linberg

photo by Joanna Linberg

When you say "smart home," I think of the Jetson family's moving sidewalk that takes you directly from flying car landing pad to the kitchen for a snack. Realistic and useful? Probably not.

Now imagine pulling out of your driveway, closing your garage, and unleashing a cascade of customized tasks in your home, like automatically locking your front and back doors, turning the lights off for the day, turning on a security camera, and raising the temperature to save money on your AC bill while you're gone. Realistic and useful? Sure, if you can get it all to work together.

That's been the conundrum with smart homes so far--the devices are cool, but how useful are they if you have to control each one using a separate app on your phone or, even worse, an old-fashioned remote control?

Target is hoping to change that by showing how these devices can sync with one another and automate everyday home tasks. They just launched an open house here is San Francisco where you can see these devices in action (in an all-acrylic faux home) in different scenarios like "leaving the house," or "burglar."

photo by Joanna Linberg

Then, you can try out each device and its app in the adjacent lab, as well as see which devices play nice together.

So after seeing how the home of the future might work, what are people buying? According to Target, consumers still aren't on-board with a whole-house system. The top sellers before the weekend were Tile (a locator device), Petnet (an automatic pet feeder), and Refuel (a propane tank gauge): one-off devices that don't quite get us to Jetsons status.

What do you think? Would you connect your whole home if you could?

 

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