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Tech Basics: What No Modern Family Should Be Without

What are the basic necessities every family must have? I know. The question is much too big for a blog post. We struggle with the definition of “family”. “Necessity” is even tougher. But there is a point when we can say that a given family has everything they need to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At the other end of the continuum, they don’t. Our definition of what a basic necessity is changes as technology becomes more advanced, available, and affordable. Yesterday’s luxuries are today’s necessities. Here is a fresh look at some of yesterday’s luxuries that today’s families shouldn’t be without:

High-speed Internet Service

Note, I am not just advocating for Internet service in every home, but high-speed Internet service in every home. Tom Wheeler: the FCC Chairman agrees. One of his commissioners put it this way as reported by the Washington Post:

”Too many of our citizens are stuck in digital darkness,” FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a speech last week, “without the primary tool needed for seamless communications for health care, education, civic participation and professional advancement.”

Even those living in less urbanized places can enjoy this democratizing technology thanks to Frontier CT services. FCC mandates will not make a difference if there are not enough services offering high-speed connectivity in the areas where people have no service. As broadband options increase, so do the opportunities afforded to by every U.S. family.

Smart Thermostats

In an article entitled, “The Best Smart Home Gadgets and Applications 2015”, the author stated that, “A thermostat is no longer a luxury but a necessity today.” Many parts of the world get too hot in the Summer, too cold in the Winter, and a muddy mixture of discomfort between the two. Many houses in these harsh climates are without central heat and air. Some have one but not the other. With such large living spaces (at least in the U.S.), it is nearly impossible to manage our heating and cooling needs with such antiquated equipment, in an energy efficient manner.

Smart Thermostats take the guesswork out of heating and cooling your home. They know when you are home, and when you’re not. They know what rooms are empty, and don’t need to be heated. If you change up your pattern and come home early, you can remotely control your thermostat, and have the temperature just right by the time you get home. Heating and cooling is too important for civilized lifeforms like us. We’re lousy at doing it. Smart thermostats are rapidly becoming a necessity.

Home Automation Devices

It is not just about thermostats. And it is not just about living out your Jetsons fantasy. There are real advantages to adding home automation options. For one, smart door locks and doorbells can keep your house from being robbed. If you are on vacation, one of the most common things burglars do is ring the doorbell. If no one answers, then the coast is clear. But smart doorbells will ring your smartphone and allow you to answer. You can clearly see who is at the door.

If someone comes to the door that needs to get in, you can unlock the door for them while you are on the beach, and make sure its locked up when they leave. Home automation and the Internet of things is really happening. Even now, Apple’s HomeKit is rolling out to manufacturers. And there are products ready for the 21st century that you can buy right now.

Are any of these things really necessities. Tomorrows debate will be about how safe the homes are of the affluent vs. those of the less fortunate. I predict some home automation devices and smart thermostats will join high-speed internet as the necessities of the future.