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Philly.com: “Home Automation = The Jetsons”

Sections: Remote control, Smart Home

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Home automation on The JetsonsSomewhere right now, my friend Grant Clauser is probably giggling. Because, yet again, someone in the mainstream media has written about home automation, and couldn’t resist the temptation of comparing it to The Jetsons. Seriously, we have a solid century or more of good science fiction to draw from — full of wondrous technology that’s trickling down into reality at an ever-increasing pace — and for some reason, anytime a newspaper covers smart home tech, they turn to Hanna-Barbera to drive the point home.

Sigh.

The latest offender is the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Catherine Laughlin, who — admittedly — thankfully doesn’t treat home automation like something that was invented just yesterday. She touches on the history of the custom channel, the fact that remotely controlling lights and locks and home entertainment at the touch of a button has been around for nearly three decades now. The point of the story is that, hey, you know all of that wonderful technology we in the media have been telling you is the coolest and brand-newest thing in the history of history for the past thirty years? Well, now even the middle class can afford it. And Laughlin even does a great job of talking about all of the reasons smart home technology is becoming more mainstream: affordable wireless technologies that make retrofit installations easier; the rise of smart, connected cell phones; telecomms and other providers offering subsidized or DIY home automation starter kits.

Which is cool. Really. Much of that same info formed the very foundation of my Control4 HC-250 review. But seriously, did she have to waste her deck and half of her lede talking about The Jetsons to get that point of cross?

And speaking of which, where is my freaking flying car?

Read: [Popularity surging for smart-home technology]

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3 Comments

  1. Even with all the latest technology in the heating and air conditioning industry, like the NEST or Honeywell’s latest thermostats capable of wireless operation and monitoring, we find a lot of customers end up replacing fancy thermostats with more simple ones so they can use their systems the old fashioned way.

    Gabriel Carini
  2. It’s pointless writing a story if readers don’t understand your references. Everyone (at least in a certain demographic) gets a Jetsons reference, so I suspect that’s why Ms. Laughlin used it.

    D.M. Yowp
    • I take your point, and I didn’t mean to pick on Ms. Laughlin specifically. But it seems that literally every mass-media article about home automation relies on the same reference. It’s tiring. CNN covers home automation? We get a Jetsons reference. Newspapers cover home automation? We get a Jetsons reference.

      My point is, The Jetsons certainly wasn’t the only pop-culture phenomenon to feature such technologies ahead of their time, and by making constant references to a cartoon that used automation as a running *gag*, I’m afraid it makes the whole endeavor seems rather like a silly flight of fancy to uninitiated readers.

      Dennis Burger