IoT ruins movies: Home Alone

By | 3 minute read | December 1, 2016

A connected home

Setting the scene

What would it be like if Home Alone had been made today instead of in 1990? Aside from the obvious perk of being able to call Kevin on his smart phone to check he was safe, wouldn’t it be fun if Kevin had live-streamed his pranks to millions of YouTube followers? Or if his remote-controlled home security system could have trapped the burglars inside the house? There are lots of ways that the IoT could ruin this Christmas classic.

The film: Home Alone

Home Alone is a Christmas comedy directed by Chris Columbus. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, the adorable (or enraging, depending on your point of view) eight-year-old accidentally left at home when his family leaves for their Christmas vacation to Paris without him.

Enjoying his new-found freedom, Kevin dives straight for the junk food and R-rated movies, but his revelry is cut short when two burglars break into the house. Knowing that they’ll be back, Kevin must draw up a battle plan to protect his house and stop the baddies in their tracks. The result is a booby-trapped obstacle course that would be turn Dennis the Menace green with envy, while the burglars enjoy the combined delights of icy steps, an iron to the face, paint cans to the face, BB gun to the crotch, blowtorch to the head and nail to the foot.

How the IoT could ruin Home Alone

The reason Kevin is left behind in the first place is that the family’s alarm clock is cut off in a power cut, and he’s missed in the mad rush to the airport. So let’s start by avoiding this catastrophe. If Kevin’s parents had set an alarm on a smartphone, it wouldn’t have been affected by the power cut because of the battery. Even if the phone happened to be charging, with fifteen people in the house, chances are somebody’s would work.

Aside from smartphones, there are lots of other ways IoT could ruin Home Alone, from GPS tracking to connected houses:

Keeping tabs on your possessions (or children) with GPS

The biggest challenge poor Mrs McCallister faces is distance. The physical distance between her and Kevin is matched by the impossibility of communicating with him, or of exchanging any information between her location and his. Here are just a few ways that the IoT could help:

  • A child-friend tracking device like the FiLIP 2 could share Kevin’s location with his Mum, and even alert her when he strays out of bounds. The FiLIP 2 is a wrist watch, GPS locator and cell phone in one that works with an accompanying app used by the parent or guardian. There’s even an emergency button that the child can push if they’re in trouble, which instantly rings the parent and shares the child’s location.
  • If Kevin’s suitcase had been a connected case, his parents could have seen that it had been left at home, presumably along with its owner.

Defending the castle with a connected security system

Some of the traps Kevin sets rely on using himself as bait to lure the burglars through his crazy fun-house – and there isn’t exactly an IoT substitute for that. However, there are a few IoT-enabled tricks he could use:

  • If the house had been equipped with a connected security system and remote locking, Kevin could have trapped the baddies inside the house using a smartphone, where they’d be stuck until the police arrived. And all from the safety of his treehouse.
  • Connected Christmas ornaments would make a cleverly hidden surveillance system, catching the two crooks on camera and saving the evidence to an app, ready for the police and insurance company.
  • Voice-activation could give Kevin control from a safe distance. “Siri, drop the paint cans!”
  • Motion sensors on the outer doors could trigger defensive mechanisms automatically – the doorknob heater and blowtorch, for example.
  • Connected drones could pursue the crooks around the house, catching their antics on camera and providing an intimidating distraction.

What movie storylines do you think should get the ‘IoT ruins movies’ treatment? We’ve tackled Scream, Thelma & Louise, and The Dark Knight Rises, and would love to hear your ideas. Let us know in the comments below, or via twitter with #IoTRuinsMovies.