Can Smart Homes be part of a Smart Future?
Speaker: Prof. Ian Rowlands, Environment and Resource Studies, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy
Smart homes are homes that incorporate advanced information, communication and automation systems in order to provide occupants with sophisticated monitoring and control over the home’s functions (in areas like energy, security and entertainment). In this presentation, smart home proposals and possibilities will be described. The potential benefits of smart homes – at both individual and community levels in areas like energy, security, food and diet – will be described. Their possible challenges -- security and system integrity, privacy, system lock-in and the digital divide – will also be identified. Given these alternative potential outcomes, it is important to think about how we can make the future we want. The focus will turn to how ‘research’ can make a contribution to advancing goals associated with a sustainable future. Research goals, research strategies and research activities will be presented and investigated. Smart homes do have the potential to contribute to a better future, but to do so, they must be investigated thoroughly and comprehensively.
Ian Rowlands is a Professor in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies. He is also Acting Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. Ian has teaching and research interests in three main areas: energy management strategies, international environmental relations and corporate environmentalism. Most of his current research activities focus upon the implementation of the ‘smart grid’ at various scales: from the household (understanding consumer behaviour and interactions with technologies) to the province (examining policies to encourage sustainable energy) to the international (investigating potential Canada-US cooperation and conflict following increased use of information and communication technologies in power systems). Ian received a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.
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