The Caribbean Smart Home is closer than you think

A brief discussion of why home automation and the smart home might be realised in the Caribbean much sooner than we expect.

Over the past few months, policymakers across the Caribbean have been clamouring for their countries to become smart cities and smart nations. To realise this, considerable investment in digital infrastructure, along with the comprehensive supporting policies and initiatives are needed. However, most countries in the region do not possess the resources or the wherewithal to facilitate aggressive implementation.

Whilst Caribbean governments try to figure out how to mover their countries closer to being smart, a smaller-scale revolution has already begun: the smart home.

When one thinks of the smart home, it is often seen as a highbrow concept that is featured in model homes of the future, and currently is available to a select few with sufficiently deep pockets. However, if one looks closely, home electronics and appliances are being built with Internet or networking capability, which is essential for devices to be connected and controlled remotely.

While the devices might be available, it can still appear that the Caribbean is decades away from having smart homes. Below some of the perceived challenges are outlined,
Price and availability

Globally, smart home electronics and appliances are not quite mainstream (or ubiquitous) as yet. They are being produced by select manufacturers, and the technology would only be featured in a few of their, typically higher end, offerings.

Having said this, increasingly, smart appliances are already being included in the inventory of stores across the Caribbean, especially TVs. Also, last week a store in Jamaica announced that it will be selling Wi-Fi-capable air conditioners (Source: Jamaica Observer). In the near future, the technology becomes cheaper, and will become part of the stable of products offered by high and lower end manufacturers. Further, the availability of smart devices in the region could be seen as giving stores a competitive edge, as they seek not only to attract the savvy shopper, but also those who aspire to own cutting edge technology. More