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Canadian Boomers Get Wired

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 21 March 2000 00:00

Although 61 per cent of Canadians feel technology at home has had a positive impact on their quality of life, they are divided about the impact wired homes would have on their lives. According to a recent survey by a leading Canadian bank, almost one in three Canadians agrees that living in a wired home would have a positive effect on raising children and entertaining friends and family but slightly more disagree.

Interestingly, Canadians are more positive about how the wired home will feel. The survey revealed more than half are sure that wired homes will be pleasant, relaxing places to live, not cold and unfriendly environments.

A "wired home" has a built-in computerized system and wiring that allows remote access to appliances, coordinates automatic lighting and temperature controls, operates entertainment systems and carries on other functions that improve home comfort and safety.

The survey revealed that 59 per cent of Canadians have access to a computer at home, either by owning one or by using a laptop brought from work. However, researchers found the same percentage agree that, regardless of how quickly new technologies develop, 20 years from now the home will look and function almost as it does today.

Does that mean the computer has already peaked in its impact on our lives? Will the much-anticipated Jetson-style dwelling continue to be a fantasy? Have we so perfected home design and function that there is little room for improvement? What do you think?

Experts believe that computers will become invisible. They will be built into everything from appliances and furnaces to window blinds and ovens. Access these electronic "brains" through your cell phone on the drive home and you could email instructions for dinner or to adjust the air conditioning. While watching television or surfing the Internet, you could turn on lawn sprinklers and run a maintenance check on your furnace.

Perhaps your wired home will also be your office. Sixty-five per cent of Baby Boomers (Canadians born between 1947 and 1966) have a computer at home and 47 per cent have Internet access. They are also more likely to have a fax machine, business line and dedicated computer line since more than 18 per cent have a home-based business. The survey found that those with a positive attitude towards the wired home are more likely to agree that working from home is the way of the future. They also see home ownership as a pleasure not a burden.

If you want to embrace new technologies as they emerge, ensure your home is equipped with structured wiring that can support current and future technologies -- home computer interconnections, home automation, security systems, phone systems, multi-room sound connections and home theatres. New home buyers may be wise to have structured wiring installed in at least a few key rooms. A few hundred dollars at the time of building are a bargain compared to the thousands it can cost to have a home rewired later.

It may not be long before home buyers are turned off by houses that are not wired.

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PJ Wade

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