The Next Big Thing in Smart Home
Up until as less as a decade ago, Smart homes, or rather, automation in any form, was a thing straight out of a Science Fiction movie or series or a luxury they couldn’t even dream of.
The way “technology,” a thing that belonged in the movies or the Science Laboratories, under the careful watch of men and women clad in white coats, has been domesticated is nothing short of astounding.
What was once a thing you saw on the big screen while eating popcorns and laughing at the probabilities, is now something you see all around you, every day, in your home.
1960s witnessed the rise in popularity of science fiction and shows like The Jetsons and Star Trek became the talk of the town. Little did the makers and the viewers of a cartoon show imagine that within their life time, they will be living what they presume to be a futuristic society set a century in the future.
This hype stayed alive through the 1970s and 80s. The 80s witnessed not only the popularization of the term “domotics” but was also the decade when the term “The Smart Home” was first coined. (1984 by American Association of House builders)
But the most significant decade was the 1990s. It was the decade when Computer Scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web, the networking technology that brought the Internet to the masses. This opened the flood gates to further advancement in data sharing, management and control.
Through the next two decades of the 21st century, we saw unprecedented speed of technological advancement that made Smart Homes not only a reality, but an affordable one at that!
With the affordable prices, Smart Home gadgets or the home automation systems became a viable option for consumers and homeowners.
As of now, the phrase “Smart Home” essentially means an area of residence where the appliances and gadgets related to the comfort, convenience, security and entertainment of the residents can interact with one another and can be controlled remotely.
With assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and, well, Assistant by major corporate houses, the milestones of smart home development is being crossed in leaps and bounds in front of our very own eyes. So, the question that arises is, what next?
Most of the things that were a prospective prototype or an idea in conception a decade ago are a purchasable reality for the masses now.
Internet of Things has brought the entire house and its content at our fingertips no matter where we are, in or outside the house.
So, what is the next big thing in Smart Homes?
As mentioned earlier, it is a field and market whose growth, though exponential, is going in leaps and bounds. This makes it difficult to pin point what would be its next major mile stone. Predictions though, are rife, about the future of smart homes.
Here, we have tried to list down the most probable “Next Big Things” in Smart Homes technology and home automation systems.
1. Internet of Ears with smart home
Internet of Things is a key player when it comes to utilization of smart devices in and around home.
It is the foundation on which the idea of home automation system rests and at the same time is also the cross links that keeps every part of the smart homes connected to each other and the home owners.
The prime essential of a Smart Home is an internet connection and a networking facility in the appliances. The future vision is taking these a step or two forward.
a. Efficiency: Increased efficiency, especially in the heating, air conditioning and the lighting system will be due to the system sensing the movement of individuals across different rooms and altering the power utilization accordingly.
b. Discretion: In the trial phases of the product, as little as 4 sensors in the walls or the floors were able to fully function and perform all the programmed tasks. This means there would be no need for heavy load wiring and presence of unnecessary amounts of sensors. And the product will only get more and more efficient and discreet as it develops into a more commercial line of system.
c. Safety and Surveillance: Still an under-trial function, Internet of Things can be utilized to a great extent in regard to safety and sensing the presence of individuals or even pets inside the building, especially during any natural disaster or calamity. Such a system, if developed fully, can be proven life saving for the occupants of the house!
2. Voice Control and further Automations
The current level of Smart Homes or Home Automation technology has brought the usage of all our devices to our smart phones. Everything rests on the click of a button on our phones. The next step to this will be furthering the voice control system around the house.
Since the introduction of Siri by Apple in 2011, voice commands systems in the field of technology have not shown any sign of slowing down. Contrarily, it has grown exponentially and people are using voice commands for increasing number of things.
In her presentation, Comscore Senior Director of Emerging Products, Susan Engleson cites a study that predicts that in as less as 2 years’ time, 50% of the searches will be through voice commands.
Voice command system eliminates the current need of interacting with your devices through text-based device inputs. Instead, with the further advancements of voice control systems, your phone will be another device lying around while your entire house goes from your fingertips to stay at your beck and call.
Amazon Echo or Alexa are the pioneers of this technology that have shown the true, yet still increasing, potential of how extensively voice control can be used in the day to day life.
Unlike Internet of Ears, a fully automated smart home controlled by your voice is not a prototype or a technology in the making. It is a reality for many smart homeowners.
So, without delving further into the hows we can just go to the whys. Why voice control? What are the advantages of a voice-controlled house?
a. Safety: This is the first and the most important aspect of a voice control system. If the device is integrated to recognize only your voice or the voice of a set of residents, the safety level of your home is increased exponentially.
For example, even in case of the off chance that there is a burglar in your house, you can easily lock yourself out in a safer section of your house, making it inaccessible from the outside by locking the particular set of doors.
Conversely, you can lock off the intruders in a single room while your device calls the police for you even if your phone is across the house from you.
Another less extreme scenario is simply asking your smart assistant which doors are locked and asking her to lock or unlock them all from the comfort of your bed as you lay down to sleep
b. Convenience: There are many tedious chores that we groan or whine upon. In a fully integrated smart home, things like even drawing the blinds can be controlled through your voice command. Who wouldn’t love to not get up from the bed to close the blinds that our beloved relatives open to wake up?
A voice controlled home does your work for you, increasing the convenience and standard of living for the residents.
c. Ease of Use: Speaking of India in particular and the world at large, there are many people, especially the elderly, who do not believe themselves to be tech-savvy enough to stay in a smart home.
Ironically, the benefits of an elderly staying in a smart home are unmatched! So, while our beloved parents or grandparents might not be able to handle the multitude of apps that are required in running the household, they certainly can tell, for example, Alexa, to close the gate or call you or someone else.
Voice Control makes using and controlling your Smart Home a child’s play, or even, a grandparents’ play!
3. Cross Platform Integration & Adaptation with smart home
With the number of smart devices in use currently world wide ranging in billions, and easily more than 8 or 9 devices within a single Smart Home, the challenge is their seamless integration.
Unless the entire development of the Smart Home was done is a systematic and planned way, a homeowner might end up with several different apps on their phones to control different aspects of their Smart Home.
This is not only cumbersome for the user but also an added load to an already data loaded phones used currently.
While tech like Alexa have to a great extent, integrated the different Smart devices connected to it, the balance between integration and safety is something that still requires work.
The current voice control integration has bridged the gap between the user and the devices, but not among the devices themselves.
For example, the different devices, working in a sequence to complete the given task without any manual intervention or start or stop commands.
Pausing the TV when the phone rings.
Prepping up the dryer when the washer completes its round.
And a lot more!
Other related aspect of this line of development involves artificial intelligence that helps the devices to observe and adapt to the regular settings as well as to the environment.
The thermostat outside is reading higher humidity and temperature? The Air Conditioner drops the temperature below the usual and the turns on the dehumidifier.
There are many applications of this particular feature and to some extent, it is being used. However, the full potential of this technology is yet to be explored and the possibilities are revolutionary!
As the saying goes, “the path to development is always under construction.” Smart Homes are no different.
With every new feature or device being added to a Smart Home, it gets more and more energy efficient, convenient, easy to use and safer.
Indeed, making Smart Homes a common people’s thing is still an ongoing process but when it comes to Internet of Things, Smart Homes are surely climbing its ladder to the top to become the most widely used tech.
Where this ascent takes us though, depends a lot on what the buyers, the consumer demands and what they can afford.
At iCapotech , we believe in developing Smart Home Technology in a way that they can be integrated into the normal Indian Household without any hassle or major renovation work involved.
Our products are the conception of careful analysis of what is the Next Big Thing in Smart Homes for the Indian masses. As such, our target and vision resonate with what our esteemed buyers want.
For us, our Next Big Thing is developing products that can stand on the three foundation pillars of Indian Consumers’ demands, that is:
- Easy to use
For more information, get in touch with our team and see the Indian Homes reach its full technological potential!