As you know, I'm a huge fan of smart home technology - well tech in any form for that matter! So when Cox invited me to stop by their event and see some examples of smart home technology powered by their Gigablast Internet at a swanky penthouse apartment 47 floors above San Diego I jumped at the opportunity.
For those of you not familiar with Cox Gigablast, it is their top tier Internet service that delivers gigabit speeds to homes and businesses. Right now, that service is limited mostly to new construction and business customers but it is expected to be rolled out to their entire footprint in California by the end of 2016. Honestly, one of the challenges that I have is wrapping my head around WHY you would need service that fast (aside from because it's the best out there). However, that was pretty much the purpose of the event. By showing off technology that is here today ... and will be common in just a few years it makes it clear that the standard 50 mbs connection that I have right now just won't cut for families in a few years.
For instance, consider watching TV streaming to your 4k SUHD TV. Netflix Streams right now requires about 5 MB/s connection for a standard HD stream, while a 4K SUHD stream will require a 25MB/s connection. When you come home from work and your wife is watching TV and so are your kids in their room, there's simply not enough bandwidth for your game of Battlefield 1 before dinner.
Consider this too - because of the way that Gigablast works, both upload AND download speeds are now symmetrical. While my current Cox plan includes 50 down, it's only 5 up. Gigablast on the other-hand is 1 Gig up AND down! That makes it much faster for me to not just download a new game, share plans for a 3D printed object, stream a movie, or talk with friends through video chats. It also makes it practical finally to backup my photos on the cloud without having to wait hours for them to upload.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the other cool applications that you're going to be enjoying in the future - powered by Gigablast!
Silky Smooth Online Gaming
It should come as no surprise that you need fast, stable internet to play online games and so it was an awesome experience to sit down for some Rocket Arena with an expert from San Diego LAN. (Who schooled me!)
Virtual Music Lessons
Jason Yang is a violinist and YouTube star who has even toured with Madonna. He now teaches students by streaming live seminars as well as one-on-one virtual violin lessons.
VR Streams for Education
VR is really cool ... and we've only just touched the surface of what can be done. However, the guys at STEAM Maker Workshop in San Diego are actually creating the future by not only working to modify the hardware but creating new applications for virtual reality in education. At the Cox Smart House I was able to visit the San Diego Zoo through a streaming experience where I was surrounded by lions, polar bears, and little kids (not sure which was scarier!).
Virtual Reality Physical Therapy
How many times have you had a trainer or PT give you exercises and while they seem simple, your somehow manage to forget them. Reflexion Health demonstrated their Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERATM) that uses motion-tracking technology to measure motion and monitor the effectiveness of the therapy. Additionally it coaches, guides and motivates patients without making them trek to the office for every appointment.
Virtual Doctor Visits
You've probably heard about this being something that will be available "in the future", but once again the future is now! Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego offers this service now to their patients for consultations ranging from allergies to weight loss help.
Virtual Golf Coaching
Imagine if you could practice your golf swing and then upload videos and telemetrics to an online community. It's here but I'm not going to share how bad my swing is!
Smart Smoker from Charbroil
Last but certainly not least was the smart smoker from Charbroil with SmartChef technology. One of the challenges with smokers is that it's generally an imprecise endeavor that's more art than science. That's mostly because you can't check the temperature without hanging around constantly and monitoring it. With this though, you can see the time left, temperature, and recipes on your smart phone. This gives you more time to practice your golf swing and play games while you wait for the sausages to be done!
This event was incredibly fun since we mostly see these technologies out of context and never really consider how everything fits together. However, when you start adding things up you realize that there really is a reason why your modem light never stops blinking. Lucky for Cox's 50,000 residential and business customers in California it's only going to get better in the future with Cox Gigablast Internet!