Get Smart

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: Thomas H. Fletcher, CFP®

I’m typically a late adopter, especially when it comes to technology. A dozen years ago while my wife and all my friends were enjoying the benefits of their new iPhones, I proudly held on to my thrifty Verizon flip phone. From my perspective, that phone could do most anything an iPhone could, such as texting, sending photos, and using it as an alarm clock. Never mind that the screen was 2” x 2” and it probably took an hour to send a photo to someone, if I was lucky. When I needed more horsepower, I was able to use the Blackberry that was assigned to me by my company at the time. (Still the greatest smartphone keyboard of all time by the way).

As technology advances at a faster pace, so does the race towards obsolescence. Eventually I bit the bullet and upgraded my life to an iPhone. The new features were great, but outside of the new phone, not much really changed for me in terms of technology upgrades. I recall getting some nifty Bluetooth headphones as a gift that were helpful for workouts. I purchased a handful of Wi-Fi leak detectors for cabinetry underneath sinks and reluctantly bought a security camera to monitor a plumbing valve.

A lot has changed though in the past couple of years. Although I’m a late adopter, once I get passionate about something, my OCD can be a force to reckon with. It began when I started buying a few Wi-Fi smart plugs that can be managed by my phone to help me out around the house. One controlled my fish tank filter, and another two replaced those old mechanical vacation light timers that always seemed to get stuck on the wrong time. I liked the benefit and the flexibility, so why stop there? After wiring up a few light switches, the outdoor lights can now be programmed to turn on 30 minutes before dusk, and go off at sunrise. Managing our irrigation system has never been easier. Now I just open an app and pause or initiate a watering. Heating coils keep our gutters free of ice without requiring me to ever again hop over a scary railing on my roof deck. Security cameras, yep, I’ve got those. Then it progressed to functional lighting scenes for rooms, and when the holidays came around this last year, just about every Christmas related light was controlled remotely. When I finally got my first Apple Watch last year, it now lets me use Siri Shortcuts on my wrist to do these commands by voice. Much to my familys dismay, the list goes on. I hate to admit it, but my guess is I’m just getting warmed up.