You know that feeling you get when you arrive home after being gone for a week or two? You walk in and feel relieved, looking around at everything that’s yours - your furniture, your kitchen, your stuff on the walls. It looks almost a little unfamiliar, but also so very welcoming.
As you look around there’s a subtle checklist going through your head - doors locked, windows unbroken, stuff all where you left it - affirming that nothing bad happened while you were away.
Last month my family and I were out of town for two weeks. Other family and friends were gone as well, so we had no one to check on the house while we were away. Our outside lights are on an automatic timer year-round, but otherwise it would be pretty easy for anyone to tell that no one was home - except that our home is smart, so it looks like we’re there, even when we’re not.
When we’re leaving town, I press a button labeled “Vacation” on the touchscreen in our living room, and we head out the door.
While in “Vacation” mode, our home emulates our daily habits. Each evening, for instance, it mimics what we normally do. Lights in the living room turn on as it begins to get dark out. The TV turns on for a while. When it gets late, lights leading upstairs come on, then the lights in the bedroom, too. The TV turns itself off and before long, the lights in the living room darken. Eventually all the lights turn themselves off and the house is quiet.
For anyone watching outside, it looks like someone is home, moving throughout the house. And the schedule is randomized a bit each day, so it never happens exactly the same way twice.
When you’re away from home and no one is there to keep an eye on it, it’s such a relief to know your house can keep an eye on itself.