These days technology isn’t just changing the way we work; it’s changing the way we live.

Share story

Today most of us don’t think twice before using our phone to call a car, order a pizza or make a HD home movie, but have you stopped lately to think how much life has changed in the past few decades thanks to technology?

These days technology isn’t just changing the way we work, it’s changing the way we live — especially at home. Consider family life: your grandparents probably told your parents to be home before sundown, your parents might have told you to check your watch and be home by 5:30, children being raised now have cellphones with GPS tracking and text messages so their parents always know where they are.

Let’s take a peek back through history to see how else family life has changed in recent decades.

Keeping your place safe while out of town

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Then, 1990s: Before heading out of town for a long weekend you spend hours programming a porch light and living room lamp to turn on at certain times so people won’t think your house is empty and vulnerable while you and your family are gone.

On your way to the airport you remember that scene from “Home Alone” when the robbers realize the lights are turning on at the same time every night before deciding it’s safe to break in. You start to worry. What if the house is being broken into and you have no idea? You spend the rest of your vacation calling home to see if you can hear anything when the answering machine turns on and stressing out about a break-in.

Now, 2017: “Call me paranoid,” says , 35, who runs the blog Crazy Organized and lives in the Fremont neighborhood. But she used to rearrange all her lamps before a trip so the timed lights were in front of the windows. “It was so clunky and I’d even just leave the porch light on all day long, which just screams ‘I’m out of town!’ ”

This summer she and her husband installed some Hive smart-home products. So when they took their 5-month-old son and dog to Gig Harbor for the weekend, she saved time she would have normally spent wrangling lamps. “I could just program our lights to go on and off, and even just turn them on at random times right from my phone,” she says.

For extra peace of mind, Frykman and her husband installed the Hive Motion Sensor next to their front door, too. “In theory, since we’re gone it shouldn’t go off and it hasn’t. It just keeps you from ever having to worry.”

Getting it all done

Then, 1980s: You roll out of bed at 5 a.m. so you can get the coffee started and get ready in time to have a cup or two before you shower and head out to work. Around 7:00 you head downstairs to your home office and start working. At 9:30 a clap of thunder breaks your concentration. You hear the rain start to come down and remember the upstairs windows are open. Up two flights of stairs and back down, you try to settle back into your groove but now it’s chilly. Maybe you should turn on the heat, but the thermostat is back upstairs. Around 10:30 you get back to work and begin to wish you’d made another pot of coffee while you were upstairs — you could really use another cup…

Now, 2017: Frykman, who runs her blog full time from home while taking care of her infant son, pushes a button on her phone from the third floor of her townhouse to start her coffeemaker before she even gets out of bed. By the time she’s downstairs and ready for her first cup of coffee, it’s ready for her, too.

“Especially in Seattle where we never know quite what the weather will bring, it can be a major pain,” says Frykman. “I know it sounds lazy, but as a new parent, it’s so helpful to have Hive sensors attached to our upstairs windows so if it starts to rain or get too hot I can just check the app [to see if it’s open before I run upstairs].”

Turning the car around (or not)

Then, 2000s: Who hasn’t left the house only to start to worry approximately five minutes later that they left the iron on, or the stove, or something else that will result in your home going up in flames while you’re out trying to enjoy your life?

Frykman straightens her hair using a hair straightener that plugs into the wall. Back in the day she worried about whether she left it on or not. “I’ve legitimately gotten in the car, gone on my way somewhere and had to stop and turn around to check to make sure I remembered to turn off the straightener and it wasn’t sitting next to a plastic mascara tube or something and now your whole house is on fire.”

Now, 2017: “Now I have a five-month-old!” says Frykman. “The only thing that’s worse than starting to drive somewhere and having to turn around because you might have forgotten something is to have to do that with a baby — when it takes twenty minutes just to get out of the house in the first place!”

But Frykman doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. These days she has Hive Active Plugs  attached to the appliances she’s most likely to worry about forgetting to turn off, like her iron and her hair straightener. “I can check easily from my phone to see if something is still on and just turn it off with a click. I’m on my phone all the time anyway, which makes it really easy to use. It’s definitely saved me a couple times.”

Set up your smart home easily with a Hive smart home plan. Each plan includes a set of smart home products like a thermostat, lightbulbs, plugs, sensors and a camera – all without any upfront costs. Visit the Hive website today and choose the plan that best fits your home!