As a kid, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was “The Jetsons”; I was fascinated by the Space-Age theme, the Futuro-Modern architecture, the gadgets...the GADGETS! Not to mention my adolescent crush on Judy, George and Jane Jetson’s hip teenage daughter, but that’s another story.
When the first episode aired in September of 1962, it had only been a brief seven months since John Glenn’s epic first orbit of the Earth in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7, a 3-lap tour that took just under 5 hours at speeds exceeding 17,000 mph!!
And now, there was George Jetson, in his sporty jet speedster, zipping home from work at Spacely Sprockets. Back at his high-tech home he was greeted by automated garage doors, conveyors that handled his briefcase, and that loveable robot maid, Rosie, who despite her clunky appearance, had a saucy personality and was amazingly efficient at household tasks.
It should be no surprise that technology advances faster in a cartoon fantasy world, but it should also be no surprise at how many of these devices have actually become reality.
One of the latest and most exciting of these is Amazon’s Echo, AKA Alexa, a 9 ½ inch tall cylindrical smart speaker that responds to voice commands to perform a myriad of functions like playing back music, podcasts and audiobooks. It...errr...she can also provide weather, traffic and other information. You may have seen her hosting a home version of Jeopardy! on TV ads.
Our particular excitement with Alexa is our ability to control a growing number of smart home devices using her as a home automation hub for our Control4 systems. For example, we can say “Alexa, turn on Theater Sconces”, “Alexa, turn on Den TV” or “Alexa, set the Living Room Thermostat to 70 degrees” and have these functions performed without lifting a finger or leaving our seats. No more fumbling through the cushions of the couch to find the remote or searching for the app on your phone in the darkness of your comfortably dark home theater.
OK, so Alexa will not (yet) shake (not stir) and deliver your Martini to your favorite seat during screenings of “Thunderball” like Rosie could, but she can provide a new dimension of interactivity and enjoyment to how you “run” your home.
We’ve added Alexa to our showroom staff now; come meet her and see what she can do.