One main reason, for which Smart Home Appliances are cloud-based.

Like many other consumers, I have some ‘smart appliances’ in my home, and a harmless example which I will use, is my Dyson Air Purifier. It gives me features (beyond) what I would have requested, but a feature which I do appreciate, is the ability to access its settings etc., from an app on my smart-phone, regardless of whether I’m connected to my own Wi-Fi, the way the appliance is, or whether I’m outside somewhere. And this is a feature which most smart appliances offer.

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But a question which I could easily picture a consumer asking would be, ‘Why is it necessary for this device to log in to a cloud server, just so that I can access it? Why can this arrangement not work autonomously?’

And I can visualize all sorts of answers, which some consumers could come up with, that might include, ‘Because Big Brother Is Watching Us.’ I tend to be sensitive to certain privacy issues, but also know that in this case, this would not be the main answer. Is Big Brother really so curious about what the air quality is in our homes?

A big reason why these devices need to be logged in to a cloud server, has to do with that last part of what they offer: To give us access to the appliance and its controls, even when we are not on our own LAN (Local Area Network).

Continue reading One main reason, for which Smart Home Appliances are cloud-based.

A Change In Fashion, In The Design Of Home Appliances Today.

I’m over the age of 50. One of the features which some ‘plug-in appliances’ had in my youth, was a rechargeable battery, which allowed them to keep an internal clock running, and therefore to keep track of time, beyond a power failure.

A feature which some ‘smart appliances’, i.e., Internet-connected appliances have today, which seems to be intentional, is the absence of a rechargeable battery. After a power failure, these appliances actually need to set their internal clock, either via a newly established Internet-connection, or via user action. And the main rationale behind this design decision seems to be, ‘The presence of a battery which recharges itself via the A/C may represent some improvement in battery lifespan, but would only represent a slight improvement in lifespan.’ In other words, if such appliances did in fact have such a battery, then instructions would also need to be distributed somewhere, on how to replace them, when they eventually fail. And many appliances’ manufacturers prefer not to broadcast such embarrassing instructions, but rather, to change the design as not to require a battery.

Two appliances which I own that seem to follow this model, are:

  1. My Dyson Air Purifier / Fan,
  2. My Security Cams.

In the second case, the trouble has plagued me in the past, that after a very long period of not monitoring the cams, their motion sensor would seem to trip while I’m monitoring them, but would seem to fail to leave any recorded footage, in the app panel where such footage should be found. I’d notice that some amount of storage on the SD Card has been consumed, which corresponded to video recordings, but the list of recordings to be played back would ‘look empty’. Additionally, to reformat the SD Card would succeed.

I finally found out what’s up with that.

Continue reading A Change In Fashion, In The Design Of Home Appliances Today.