3 out of 4 stars
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Join the Smart Home Revolution is a pretty short book and is written by Ryan Herd. As the title suggests, this book is intended to educate the reader about the benefits of having a ‘smart’ home while also providing an overview of what exactly that entails.
The author starts with a historical overview of what houses have been like since the time of the cavemen. He points out the changes in houses since those times and then gives the reader an overview of the benefits that smart homes provide. By using that as the base, he dives deeper into how a smart home does those things and the impact that can have on our lives. The primary advantages that he focusses on concern safety and convenience. The rooms become smarter when there are sensors and devices that are controlled by a smartphone. These devices and sensors can be proactive and helpful in tending to needs of the resident. For example, he suggests that by having a smart door lock, we can control access, not worry about losing keys and also program it to contact the police at any sign of trouble. Many similar use-cases are explained in great detail. The book then responds to common misconceptions about smart homes. Here, the focus is on explaining that it is possible to set one up without spending too much at one go. Furthermore, he argues that it is also an investment since it increases the resale value of houses. All of these are backed up by statistics from various sources. Towards the end, he issues predictions concerning the reach of smart homes over the next few years.
To complement the futuristic and unique idea, this book is also pretty different from the standard ones. It is colourful with images and little infographics to drive home points or just to present the information in a convenient manner. I enjoyed reading a book like this which attempts something different from the standard typesetting and structure. It was also refreshing to see that the author is not carried away by his optimism and realises that sometimes there is too much automation. Since the line is pretty subjective, he suggests that each person make their own choices on what is too much, which is a stance I agree with.
One problem I had with the book was the repetitive nature of the points made. The benefits that home automation can have on safety and cost saving were mentioned far too many times. Since the author explains things pretty clearly and in simple English, there is no real need to repeat the same points quite so many times. He could instead delve deeper questions of how smart homes could balance convenience with issues like privacy. Similarly, the section with the predictions for the future was just far too long (nearly 100 predictions with explanations) and also seemed repetitive. That section was an anomaly with the author making mistakes avoided in the rest of the book. It is a classic case of the expert determined to showcase his expertise without considering what the reader wants or needs. While the rest of the book was aimed at a casual reader, this section would not really keep the interest of such a person. I have a technical background and an interest in futuristic technology and still felt that the section was overkill.
I would recommend this book to people who have homes and are interested in harnessing technology to improve it. Readers with an interest in futurism or technology would also enjoy this book. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars due to both a few issues in spelling and grammar as well as the issues I previously mentioned. It was a good book that could be better.
Join the Smart Home Revolution
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