A Luddite Reviews the Top 10 US Cities for Smart Homes
Those of you who have started watching of Mr. Robot Season 2 won’t be surprised to hear that I have smart homes on the brain. (If you haven’t watched Mr. R, stop reading right now and do it. I’ll wait.) In the first episode, an Evil Corp executive gets hacked and her smart house turns on her – the thermostat freezes her out, blaring alarms choke her eardrums, and the overhead lights pulse like a bad disco hangover.
That’s just one, fictional, instance of smart house sabotage. But my inner luddite suspects we will see more to come in the very near future. The beginning of 2016 brought a market study with a list of the top ten US cities for smart homes. I have no choice but to hand over the reigns to my not-to-be-taken-too-seriously inner luddite and let her tell us all of the ways things could go horribly, horribly wrong in each of those US cities. Buckle up.
1. Phoenix, AZ
What could possibly go wrong with a Smart House in Phoenix? Oh nothing, not in a city where the record high is 50 degrees celsius. What if, say, on one of those hot Phoenix days, the neighbors decided to reprogram the thermostat in your smart house? What if they also jammed all of the locks so you couldn’t get out when the temperature in the house rivaled that of an oven? Of course they would only ever do something like that out of spite, say, because they didn’t get invited to your annual pool party. But luckily nothing could go wrong with a smart house in Phoenix, so you don’t have to worry about inviting the neighbors.
2. Dallas, TX
Texas, especially North Central Texas, is known for its soft clay soil. Unfortunately this also means that houses in Texas have a tendency for serious foundation issues. Unless your smart house comes equipped with a sensor that warns you when the structure is sinking and automatically shifts its weight to account for the difference, you’re plain out of luck.
3. New York, NY
If you’re a multimillionaire, NYC might just be the best place to own a smart house, because you could actually afford one of reasonable size. If you’re not a multi-millionaire, well you might find yourself the proud owner of the tiniest smart house in existence. New York is so historic and densely populated that living spaces are notoriously cramped. One guy even made it into the New York Post because of how impossibly small his apartment is. Fancy automated functionality just seems superfluous in a house where you don’t even have to get out of bed to reach the refrigerator.
4. Miami, FL
Miami is more than proud to find itself on the Top 10 list, citing its technology savvy and new growth as reasons for the honor. But I have this nagging feeling that something could go horribly wrong in a gadget-wired house so near to the ocean. Let’s face it, Florida is sinking. When I was young my mother told me never to use the electric blow dryer near the bathtub. Thus, no Miami smart home for me.
5. Los Angeles, CA
LA is home to the one and only La Brea Tar Pits. It only stands to reason that when the saber-toothed cats and mammoths return, they will go straight for LA. In that scenario I’d much rather have a fiery club at my disposal than a smart house.
6. Houston, TX
See Phoenix. Plus 90% humidity.
7. Chicago, IL
Chicago is such a hardy city, I had a hard time imagining what could go wrong with a smart house there. But then I realized … the Bean. The Bean (officially called Cloud Gate) is a 98 tonne stainless steel sculpture in downtown Chicago. Imagine that in a lightning storm. I wouldn’t want my electrically-sensitive smart house to be anywhere near the Bean.
8. Riverside, CA
Riverside is famous for being the birthplace of the California citrus industry. Oranges, lots of oranges. What could possibly go wrong with a smart house surrounded by a slew of orange trees? Ants, that’s what. A Harvard University Professor once said the world’s ants outweigh the world’s humans. I’m skeptical, but not so much that I can’t imagine an army of ants trying to walk off with my smart house. No thanks, Riverside.
9. Atlanta, GA
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta is facing an uptick in home rental scams. So, renting a smart house in Atlanta might not be the best idea, but hey, building one yourself doesn’t seem to be a problem!
10. Salt Lake City, UT
The Great Salt Lake is 4-5 times saltier than the ocean. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue for me but thinking in terms of electronics, it’s not good. Even the tiniest bit of salt water could corrode the inner workings of your home over time. Of course, no one else in SLC seems to have this issue, so please take my opinion with a grain of … salt.