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What is "Smart" with electric goods?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by ericmark, 8 Oct 2021.

  1. ericmark

    ericmark

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    To my mind when there are algorithms to work some thing out, it is "Smart" in other words some sort of computer control. It measures some thing, remembers the measurement, and latter uses that measurement, for example the Drayton Wiser TRV head measures how long it takes to heat a room so it knows when to switch off to avoid over shooting, where the cheaper Energenie TRV head just slows down heating as it approaches target.

    However since Energenie can use IFTTT it can use some smart algorithms, but in its self is just a dumb terminal.

    I still remember the old main frame computers, which used dumb terminals to assess them.

    But memory is clearly not enough, it needs to do some thing with what it has leant, so an electric meter remembers how much power you have used, but it does not use that information to do anything.

    Simple communication is not smart, does not matter if my TRV head needs me to look at the display, or uses bluetooth or wifi, it is not smart because it has coms. My phone however is a mini computer, not simply a coms device, so yes it is a "Smart" device, it translates information into a form I can use, so I can see on the display when my wife has left shops and started home without the need to phone her. Although not sure where all the "Smart" stuff is, it could be all in googles computer?

    I really can't see what is "Smart" about a smart meter? I have not got one, I assume if there is unusual usage it sends a message to your phone to alert one? I know I can set my plug in energy monitor to alert me if power exceeds a set amount, but that is not really that smart in its self, so suppose it would connect to EV charging points to tell them when there is spare power that can be used, to simply tell me is not really smart, it is then using my brain to work out what to do, it needs to directly interface with the EV charging point.

    As to could do, or does do, not sure that counts, if I don't use my phones built in computer it is still a smart phone, so what can the smart meter do? Not what it does do, but what can it do, can it look to see if the kettle is used once every 4 hours in day time and alert me if not? So I know if father has not made any coffee, which likely means something wrong.

    If it needs to interface with something to do that, then really just a dumb terminal.

    We had remote pumping stations with coms to say when pumping, but the smart bit was the computer software at base, which raised an alert if either always pumping or never pumping.

    So what do you think smart means.
     
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  3. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    SMART Suspicious Marketing Activity Rejecting Truth
     
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  4. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    It's just semantics. "Smart" has come to be a marketing term which can mean anything ... usually along the general lines of "more complicated/sophisticated than such things used to be".

    I'm rather surprised that, for example, present-day cars are not described as "Smart", since they are considerably 'smarter' than they used to be, and considerably 'smarter' than many other things given that description :)

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  5. plugwash

    plugwash

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    I remember the term "smart car" used to be used to refer to cars with futuristic (at the time) features.

    Then someone turned "Smart" into a brand for tiny cars which presmablly lead other automakers to steer away from the term.
     
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  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Interesting. In the sense that modern cars are 'smart', I suppose much the same is true, to varying extents, with a vast range of (probably most) modern appliances/products.

    With technology advancing as rapidly as it has done in the last few decades (and presumably will continue so to do), one probably has to be careful about using words like "futuristric" - just as the borderline between 'science fiction' and 'prediction/speculation' has become pretty blurred!

    Kind Regards, John
     
  7. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    HAL the computor in 2001 a space odyssey was built to be a very smart entity.
     
  8. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    What I think makes meters Smart, is what can be done with the information they can provide. They can accept feedback, so as to vary the charging rate.

    Cars, well yes, some are very Smart, mine knows when the screen is wet and can turn the wipers on and off as the amount of rain varies on a journey. The engine ECU learns and adapts to how the driver drives it. I tell the satnav where I want to go and it calculates a best route/most efficient one/ fastest route and mid journey can reroute me if it spots delays on a road it planned to use. It's able to recognise different drivers and can adjust the drivers seat to suit their preferred driving position, before they have even opened the door.
     
  9. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Indeed, but as I said 'Smart' is very much in the eye of the beholder.

    It is also very 'comparative' in concept. My car, camera, telephone, TV etc. etc. are all certainly an awful lot more 'smart' than were the ones I had in the past. However, the younger generations (who have "never known different") take for granted that what they see today is what cars/cameras/whatever 'are', and therefore presumably would/will not regard them as 'smart' until they become 'smarter' than they were when they first became aware of them.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  11. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    That is always the case and always will be. I was confused when I was considering buying our first Smart TV. I obviously liked the improvements, because I replaced a further two sets with Smart ones. We only have one unSmart set remaining, which is a little used one in the kitchen, which stands in for use when we go off touring in the caravan. No point in that being Smart, with a poor /expensive internet connection in a field somewhere, in the sticks :)
     
  12. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Exactly. It's in the nature of thins that there will always be improvements, developments, increased capabilities or whatever in almost all products. It could therefore be argued that virtually any product is 'Smart', in the sense that it is 'smarter' than whatever preceded it.

    The decision as to what to actually label as 'Smart' is therefore totally arbitrary and, as I said at the start, is essentially a marketing thing.

    Also, contrary to what eric suggested at the start, I don't think that 'Smart' necessarily requires the implementation of an algorithm by some sort of 'computing' technology. Thinking of cars again, there have been plenty of 'smart' things introduced which were purely mechanical - things like (at least the early versions of) ABS, self-cancelling indicators, 'automatic chokes' etc. etc. Even some of my hand tools are, at least in some senses, 'smarter' than the ones I had 50 years ago.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  13. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Smart can have three meaning, to look good, to have some intelligence, and to hurt. In the case of cars I would say it is the looks, and having a neater device could also be referred to as smart, and the new electric meter is neater than the old one. However I would still consider in the main it refers to some artificial intelligence.

    However it does seem anything which connects to ones mobile phone seems to be called smart.
     
  14. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I think you are trying to be 'too clever', in relation to the linguistics. Of the three meanings you suggest, it's surely only the middle one that is relevant to the context we are discussing, isn't it?

    As for that second one, I certainly wouldn't agree that it implies 'artificial intelligence'. The great majority of the types of 'Smart' products we are talking about use some form of ('totally dumb') electronic processor to execute explicitly-coded instructions in a programme. Very few are even 'intelligent enough' to be able to cope with a mere single-character typographical error in the instructions (or the equivalent in hard-wired or 'burned-in' 'programming'). The only 'intelligence' is that of the programmer/designer, the device itself being totally 'dumb' (i.e. just 'obeying instructions 'blindly'). True "AI" is a totally different animal, and certainly won't be found in any of the 'smart' devices we're talking about.

    However, as I said before, I'm not sure that 'Smart', as used, necessarily implies any 'computing' of any sort, in that it can be used to refer to, say, purely mechanical things which 'are' (actually, whose designers are) 'clever', can't it?

    Kind Regards, John
     
    Last edited: 9 Oct 2021
  15. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Artificially Intelligent items/machines/computers can develop new algorithms for themselves. Most smart items do not have that ability and can only use the algorithms that their creator has programmed into them.
     
  16. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    My BP monitor doesn't call itself Smart, but it stores my BP readings date/time and can via bluetooth, upload them all to an app on my phone. Once on the phone, it has a facility to email them to my PC as a text list or an Excel database.
     
  17. FrodoOne

    FrodoOne

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    As far as "Smart" is concerned, with a newly bought TV receiver it just means that which the "designer" thought was "smart" at the time of its design.
    However, it is unlikely that the TV concerned will be "smart" in a few Years, Months or (even) Weeks.

    I am at present dealing with a "Smart" TV which has replaced an earlier "Smart" TV of the same brand - purchased somewhat prior to the 2012 Olympics - because the "display" on the earlier TV "failed".

    While no "manual" came with the new TV, there is a quite complex "guide" available on line and there are explanations "built-in" to the new TV for various things, but there are problems when one goes searching for those!

    To use the "Smarts" of this new TV - with the "Magic Remote Control" - it is necessary to "Point and Click" at a virtual keyboard or to use Left/Right/Up/Down buttons to select letters for input, both of which are time consuming (and prone to errors.)
    (I do note that it is possible to attach a keyboard and mouse to this TV but, really!
    Also, this TV is connected to the WWW via a LAN connection, so "updates" are available - and have been installed - whenever the manufacture wishes to provide them.)



    However, if one just connects "Chrome-cast" to a HDMI input of any TV, one can use one's "Mobile Phone" quickly to key in that which is required and "cast" it to the TV concerned, with few problems.

    Mobile 'phone "software" and "Chrome-cast" seem to be updated on a much more regular basis than any "propitiatory" "Smart" TV receivers and I find that to be much more usable !
     
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