Meet George Jetson: Smart Future, Smart Homes
You may not know it from watching cable news or browsing your Instagram or Facebook feeds, but we’re truly living in the days of "miracles and wonders." An age of innovation and human achievement where today's energy-efficient, smart homes are more like the Jetson’s space-age residence than the iconic Brady Bunch house.
I watched a lot of television growing up as a kid (we didn’t have Snapchat), and never honestly thought that a "Jetson home" would be a reality, not my reality anyway. In our neighborhood, all my friends had a "Brady house," some with a microwave and a little less orange décor, but a "Brady house" nonetheless. Why would we expect — or even hope for — anything else? Think about all the celebrated American TV families from the 1950s to the 2000s — the Cleavers, Bradys, Cunninghams, Huxtables, and Conners — not one lived like the Jetsons. That is, until the futuristic year of 2019.
The creators of The Jetsons got it right — it just took a little over 50 years to realize. We live in a world of smartwatches, personal robots, and smart cars. I drove a minivan this weekend that was more like the Starship Enterprise than my 1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo or my 2006 Honda Odyssey. And in the midst of all this techno-smartness is the extraordinary development of the energy-efficient, smart home.
Smart, efficient energy use is synonymous with modernity and with the ideal of living freer, more prosperous lives. Too often in our overly politicized, Twitter-filled experience, we overlook the entrepreneurial innovations helping Americans to live better lives now. We're too busy yelling at each other over social media — perhaps the dumbest of all the smart technologies.
You hear it all the time from every political persuasion: the world is worse today than it was years ago. Don’t believe it. Innovation and free enterprise continue to be the greatest mechanisms for lifting people out of poverty worldwide and for advancing equality and progress here in America.
"Human ingenuity, affordable energy, and the freedom to create and innovate" are the social and economic ingredients necessary to continue our progress toward a future so bright we’ll all have to wear shades. A recent tell-tale sign of this "shade-wearing" future is the new partnership between Landis+Gyr and Sense — two trendsetting companies joining forces to help utilities offer 21st Century energy-management services to consumers.
The reality of the smart home and its potential residential energy-efficiency is a technological advancement that will benefit millions of Americans in real time — today.
Sense CEO Mike Phillips explained, "We have found the key to engaging consumers around energy is to provide real-time, detailed views of energy and device activity, and to interface with an increasing number of smart home devices. We’re excited to be working with Landis+Gyr, which shares our vision that the core infrastructure of the smart grid should support consumer-facing technologies such as Sense, providing significant benefits to utilities and their customers."
"As part of this agreement, the Sense home-energy app, which monitors and measures energy used by electrical devices, will be available as an application that can be uploaded to the Connect IoT platform within Landis+Gyr’s advanced meters." For the non-geek, the Internet of Things (IoT) "is a network of devices that is rooted with software, electronics, actuators and sensors that enables objects to connect and exchange data, the Internet of Things (IoT) platform is what makes IoT happen for the devices." (Not bad for a guy who drove a 1971 Monte Carlo.)
With this partnership, Landis+Gyr and Sense will be able to deliver improved efficiency, cutting-edge security (consumers can remotely view which electrical devices are on at home and be alerted to serious repair issues), as well as demand response (i.e., detailed, real-time energy information).
The political discourse is important; what happens in Washington matters. Our government’s regulatory and legal regimes can stifle economic growth and progress, or our government can encourage America’s entrepreneurs and innovators to advance human progress. Still, what Landis+Gyr and Sense are doing at the intersection of energy and the smart home shows that many of the issues most important to Americans are being determined outside the Beltway.
Some in the cable-news punditry and political class are hawking a Flintstone future — a "we’re falling back into a new Stone Age" fallacy. These are the promoters of click-bait news and social media mobs. The so-called journalists and commentators who gave us the Covington Catholic debacle and who are obsessed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s no wonder the media missed our "meet George Jetson" moment.
Yes, if we embrace modernity — smart homes, energy, innovation, free enterprise — the future is already here.
Jerry Rogers is the founder of Capitol Allies, and the co-host of The LangerCast on the RELM Network. Twitter: @CapitolAllies.