Just how lazy are we? I'll bet when housewives first started bugging their husbands for one of those new-fangled "labor-saving" device like a washing machine or vacuum cleaner or ice box back at the turn of the last century, traditionalists wondered if their women were just getting lazy.
And in the mid-1950s, not having to even get up to change the TV channel thanks to the "clicker" TV remote control transformed us into couch vegetables.
It'd therefore be no surprise if the whole idea of a more completely automated home might not complete our inert evolution and turn us into the obese hover chair-riding, Big Gulp-sipping automation-dependent Axiom population in Wall-E.
The folks who built out the Savant Residential Experience Center at 561 Broadway in Manhattan think advanced home automation is a good labor-saving device-like thing. At a tour for journalists last week, Dave Pedigo, CEDIA's senior director of technology, presented a Top 10 Emerging Trends and Technologies presentation.
3. Tablet computing.
As I noted Monday, what is most mind-boggling about the Savant Residential Experience Center is the number of iPads embedded in room walls, acting as control centers.
But there's no denying that for most smarter homes, tablets, especially iPads, are replacing many remote controls. Nearly all major A/V component makers make apps designed to control their gear. And many in the custom A/V installation world, including Savant, no longer force you to buy expensive custom touch panels in favor of cheaper iPad apps, since the odds are increasing that you'll have one.
But iPad as smart home control may become even a bigger deal now iOS 6 will bring Siri to the iPad. Bet on A/V component remote control app makers will take advantage of this new Siri/iPad combo.
On shelves lining walls or insides of cabinets you stand and store old vinyl records, CDs, video cassettes, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, maybe even audio cassettes and laserdiscs.
In a smart home, consider these gone.
More and more media is being moved to the cloud, accessed by your TV or other A/V gear via the Internet. It's already happening - YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, CinemaNow, et al, as well as personal storage on Apple's iCloud and Microsoft's SkyDrive, Google Drive, et al, accessible via a tablet, connected Blu-ray player, media streamer, or connected TV.
Even the Blu-ray group (i.e. the Hollywood studios) as preparing for content life in the sky with its UltraViolet program - buy a Blu-ray disc, get a free version of the movie to access from the cloud. Eventually, they and we will realize we don't really need the Blu-ray copy in the same way we don't need an MP3 player now that we have a smartphone.
But Savant says even the home PC is toast. Between storing or accessing content in the cloud and an iPad on your lap, only home professionals will need an actual PC.
And the Number 1 Emerging Trend and Technology:
1. The intuitive home.
As I intimated on Monday, your house will eventually become smart enough to think for itself and for you.
But why does my house making decisions for me conjure visions of SkyNet?
In addition to figuring out how to allot power resources to keep your energy bill under budget, your house may be able to sense when you're not home and close the shades and make sure the doors and windows are locked, or sense when you're coming home and turn on the heat or air conditioner, or it'll sense you've gone to the bathroom and automatically release the necessary aromatics, or it'll know your show is on and turns on the TV and tunes the cable box to the correct channel, or it might even ask you questions to anticipate your needs - your own disembodied Lurch.
According to Savant, smart home control system interoperability standards are being developed to make this house-as-butler dream - or Colossus: The Forbin Project nightmare - a reality.
I may be a tech reporter and geek, but I'm also a member of an older generation and naturally distrustful of too much technology. I was with Savant on this Top 10 Trends until this last intuitive home bit. Personally, no matter how smart a house can get, I think I'd like to tell it what to do, not the other way around.
But I also understand tech history, and all of these trends are quite likely to assert themselves at some point, whether I like it or not.