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Alexa

Housing Tech: Kind of like the Jetsons

“Alexa, turn on the living room lights” is a common phrase at our house. The lights will then illuminate the room which we have verbally commanded, alleviating the task of flicking the switch.  It’s kind of a strange convenience to have.
We’ve put all kinds of wireless tech in our house that is all lassoed to the Alexa device, which can also be controlled by our phones.  20 something light bulbs, wireless audio system, thermostat, garage doors, doorbell, door locks, grocery lists, alarm system, televisions, Roomba, ordering amazon…. the list goes on and on about what these things can do for our convenience.
I can record messages to my Phone and Alexa will announce it on all of the devices at home,  which comes in handy if someone doesn’t have their phone on them to answer.
The Nest thermostat we installed at the house knows everything about our energy usage and can adjust the temperature when we are gone.  The controller into an eco mode to save energy when we are gone.  Google recently bought Nest, which makes me wonder what they’ll be using the data for.  Most likely to sell it to someone for something and make a killing.
Alexa will hear our commands when we tell it to play our favorite playlist and then turn on the Sonos speakers in the rooms we choose.  The speakers can also be controlled with my phone and even my watch.  Simply amazing.
Alexa will play games, Sing songs, read poetry, order pizza, call an Uber, deliver the news and the weather, but it won’t control the garage doors, alarm system, or door locks.  Thank goodness too because even though voice commands are convenient, hackers do exist and can gain entry easily if our house didn’t have an extra layer of security on our network.
All of these connected devices are what IT people call the internet of things or IoT.  And they can pose a threat to the security of our homes if they aren’t properly secured.  It’s kind of like having a network within a network and it’s suggested that homeowners set up a secured network exclusively for the devices.
It’s a little scary to think who could be listening in on some of the intimate conversations we have inside of our homes.  This is exactly what these tech companies like amazon and google are doing.   Which is nothing new, I’m sure you’ve noticed ads pop up on your phone after talking about a specific product.  The tech companies are taking it a step further.
What if you and your spouse were fighting a lot and the word “ divorce” is mentioned.  Next thing you look at your phone and an attorney’s ad pops up.  Or if you’re talking about vacation, or needing a realtor, etc, those ads will show up.  It’s not a coincidence.  (Yes, Amazon has been calling me nonstop to subscribe for a Realtor ad)
As a realtor, I end up going into a lot of people’s homes. I see smart devices sometimes, like an Alexa or a thermostat, maybe a lightbulb or two which makes me wonder if I went overkill on all the smart tech at my house.  It doesn’t seem that people here in Arkansas are buying into it as much as I have.  It makes me wonder if it’s because it’s expensive or if people are paranoid about others listening in, security, or something else.
Please chime in, I would love to hear what you have to say about smart home tech and all the cool toys that can enhance the comfort and convenience of your home.
mprall72903
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