Many Household Devices Are Really Broken, Even Those That Work “Just Fine”

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Without modern connectivity technology, many of the household gadgets we use every day aren’t nearly as helpful as they ought to be. Once you realize what they should be doing, you can’t help but think of them as “broken.”

Most of us regard ourselves as living in a high-tech Golden Age, surrounded with smartly-designed, consumer-friendly devices that make life easier and more enjoyable. But in fact, each of us owns a swarm of gadgets that don’t work very well at all, even though they do everything they’re supposed to.

A good example of one of these “broken” devices is the garage door remote control. Who hasn’t returned home at the end of the day to find the garage door wide open, on account of the tire of a tricycle or a can of soda you hadn’t noticed when quickly pulling out in the morning?

How to avoid this sort of security nightmare from happening again? You could wait patiently at the end of your driveway every time you leave home, to make sure the garage door closes like you meant it to.

But much better would be to use modern wireless connectivity technology to create a smartphone application that would beep or buzz or blink and let you know there was a problem — in plenty of time for you to turn around and do something about it. That’s what a garage door opener should have been doing all along, and why it’s fair to consider current models “broken.”

Another “broken” household gadget is the common thermostat. What better definition of being “broken” is there then when the owner simply can’t use it?

But that’s exactly the case with most thermostats. Studies by energy experts at the UC Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory have shown that many thermostat owners can’t figure out how to perform the most basic tasks, such as programming the device for different days of the week. No wonder, considering that the “user interface” to the average thermostat is a few tiny buttons and a small LED screen.

A better thermostat would be one that could be configured and monitored via a Web app on a computer or smartphone. Just like the “smart” garage door opener, this new breed of user-friendly thermostat is made possible by advances in wireless technology.

Once you start looking around the house, you start to see broken devices everywhere. Automatic sprinklers going full-blast in the middle of a summer thundershower. Lights that stay on even when no one is around. Sump pumps that can’t alert you that your basement is filling with water.

Fixing these broken devices is easy, thanks to modern wireless technology, coupled with the smartphones we all carry with us. The benefits to be gained from making good use of wireless connectivity are many, from added convenience to lower energy costs. Not to mention the peace of mind involved in never having to return home to a wide open garage.

By: Shane Dyer, President of Arrayent