The Great American Turn On

N ext week is our industry’s premier event, The CEDIA Expo.  As I read the newsletters and blogs about what to see while at the show, I am fascinated by all the new gadgets and gizmos being introduced to work with home automation systems.    I was familiar with technologies like Apple HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa and there pursuit to have us speak all our commands to our home automation systems.  But what I was less familiar with ,and interested to learn more about at the show, are the companies offering all sorts of devices that can be programmed to do whatever command or string of command you want by slapping or pushing a button placed conveniently throughout your home.

button-fibaroOne such device is “The Button”  by Fibaro.  This device ties into their whole house automation system and can be programmed for any activity you want.  Makes a great idea if you’re in bed and left all the lights on in the house.  One of these buttons by your bed and Whamo! lights are off.  Watching the video on their website, it becomes clear that the days of using pesky touchpanels or talking to Siri or Alexa maybe over.  Sorry Siri and Alexa, I don’t want say my commands, I wanna slap it!   I can see placing these buttons all over your home and programming them to do all sort of things.   In fact, I want to install one in my garage, where my garage door button was,  and then program that button to open my garage door and tie into my Sonos system to play the theme song to the Dukes of Hazard, while my wife Daisy pulls in the General Lee.

I kid, but I thought all this home automation and voice activation was supposed to get rid of all the pimples and warts from my walls, floor, countertops, and furniture.  It’s a cool idea and I am sure there are lots of neat things you can do with it.  The button can be programmed for one activity or a string of macro activities.  For Instance, when you wake up, slap the button and the drapes open, the music plays, and the lights slowly turn on.  The possibilities are endless and all you have to know is how to slap a button.

This reminds me of another exciting product of its day.  A product that, I believe, is responsible for home automation as we know it.  A product originally known as “The Great American Turn On”  or as it was later known as “The Clapper”.  Like “The Button” it was cutting edge for its day and offered to ease our lives by bringing a bit of automation into our home.  Connect this device to any lamp, tv, toaster, you name it, and simply clap to turn it on or off.  The clapper was cool.  Of course it had its drawbacks.  If the dogs started barking the lights would go crazy flickering like strobe lights at a disco.  But it was great for granny not having to get up to turn the lights off.  All she had to do was simply clap her poor arthritic hands and Viola!, lights were off.  That was the granny of 1980.  The granny of 2016 has “The Button” (plus several thousands of dollars of home automation equipment installed in her home).  She could stick this button on her night stand and slap it to not only turn the lights off, but adjust the A/C, set the alarm, and send an email to her kids that says she’s gone to bed and to call her in the morning to make sure she made it through the night.  Now, that’s peace of mind!

I love technology, but sometimes I wonder, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  Its kinda like curved TVs.  We spend 50 years to make them as thin as possible, then some marketing genius says, “lets curve them, it’ll be cool”.  Again, I kid, and wish nothing but success to Fibaro and the endless possibilities of “The Button”. BTW, the clapper is still available at fine drug stores everywhere, seriously.

By | 2018-05-07T17:42:20-05:00 September 9th, 2016|Home Theater|0 Comments

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