It’s worth wondering if we’d be further along in our quest for the ultimate smart home if we had never called it a Smart Home.
The idea that an entire dwelling could achieve something approaching sentience in one-fell swoop was always ludicrous. While our homes represent a singular idea, they’re comprised of a million competing ones. Invariably it’s a hodgepodge, an eclectic mix of design, decor, gadgets and interfaces.
We buy what we like and what we think will fill a utility gap. The refrigerator is purchased for one reason, while the electric stove is for another. Our dish washing machine might be from Kenmore while our clothes dryer is from Samsung.
We buy one set of shades for one room and a different set for another.
In the early days of the smart home revolution, manufacturers tried to sell consumers on a cohesive idea: turnkey systems installed by professionals with a centrally managed interface that only a Mensa candidate could figure out.
Nest’s success paved the way for other connected home devices like locks, security cameras and smart bulbs. Many worked like Nest, little beacons of intelligence in a home full of dumb, disconnected devices.
Not only were they expensive, they asked home owners to do something they almost never do: change everything at once (unless they sell their dwelling and move).
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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.
In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
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