The COVID-19 crisis, with its quarantines, lockdowns, and sheltering in place, has led to a dramatic redefinition of the word “home.” For many of us, what was once a sacred base to relax from work, study, and travel has become, thanks to the pandemic, a full-time living, office, and leisure center rolled into one. The revisioning of our living space prompted by the pandemic has dovetailed with a series of internet-powered innovations that, together, create what is known as the smart home.
None of this, however, would be possible without a reliable internet connection. Thanks to continued investment by broadband providers, 80% of American homes now have access to gigabit speeds. With additional infrastructure investment, we can get to 100% connectivity.
The promise of the smart home is exciting, but much more remains to be done to create the conditions for them to become a reality nationwide. Let’s take a closer look at how the homes of tomorrow are being built today – powered by a critical broadband infrastructure.
Smart homes mean smart safety. With home automation programs, like the ones offered by Google’s Ring, Nest, ADT, and many others, you can control everything from locks, lights, and thermostats from your phone while detecting and responding to emergencies such as leaks and fires. These programs also contain security features allowing you to monitor, control, and protect your home with smart video technology.
How about adding another dimension to our 2D screens? The 3D TV fad has come and gone, but the idea lives on! Holographic displays, a.k.a. “light field” technology will revolutionize the way we watch TV, learn and work. Imagine streaming into a “holo-room” for virtual meetings, talking face-to-face with family, friends and co-workers in your car’s head-up display, or interacting with historical figures at a museum!
The boom of labor-saving devices for the kitchen introduced in the 1950s is about to meet its second wave: this means smart everything, from microwaves to toasters, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and more. While saving effort and energy, smart kitchens can also integrate meal-prep and grocery delivery services, allowing anyone to make the meal of their dreams even if you don’t have all day to dedicate to it.
A billion-dollar industry supported by millions of fans, “esports” is the name for the competitive, organized video-gaming hobby that has taken the world by storm. But aside from the pro arenas that are now being built with gaming in mind, esports are also taking off in local associations, such as Iowa Esports, which has harnessed Mediacom’s fiberoptic internet to build an exciting community of 5,000 competitive gamers.
After a busy day of home office, it might just be time to slip on your virtual-reality goggles and step into a new world. Healium is a mental-fitness channel that leverages virtual and augmented reality to manage stress and anxiety. Thanks to an EEG headband or an Apple watch, your own biometric data is turned into visuals, allowing you to become an active participant in your own well-being.
Holographic and virtual reality can also be harnessed for physical wellness in the form of telemedicine, allowing patients to receive quality, in-home medical care – from anywhere. Home care is delivered via apps that can monitor vital signs and other indicators, track habits, keep a virtual eye on elderly loved ones, and make sure pills and medications are taken. The UnityPoint Health network, for example, has created a 24/7 virtual-health system, including physical and mental health consultations, nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support, that is available to anyone.
Investing in Infrastructure
By creating homes that are safer and more interactive, we will be able to lead lives that are happier, healthier, and more fulfilling. That is precisely what the power of increased broadband promises to open up to us – if we take the steps that are needed to reach 100% connectivity. Let’s expand broadband to everyone so all can harness the innovations that will revolutionize our lives.
To learn about more life-transforming technologies that are being made possible by the revolution in broadband, click here.