Home Owners Can Look Forward To Futuristic Home Living Experience
Just over a decade back, the smart phones made their debut. That time. controlling and managing your home security, lighting or appliances remotely was unimaginable. Fast forward to 2019, “Connected Homes” and now “Smart Homes”have been around for a while. The excitementin the Home Automation keeps on building even more with newer technology and product rollouts as the rapid strides in home technology is showing no signs of slowing down.If consumer trade shows and frequent offerings of Tech giants across the globe are any indicator, the newer technologies are opening new use cases and existing product lines are getting matured. Zion Market Research predicts that smart home market will reach $53.45 billion by 2022.
The new wave of innovation will piggy back on few key breakthroughs and technologies. The latest offerings of 5G and WIFI 6 will form the new backbone of connected world. It will have profound impact on “What Next!”. This coupled with innovationsat breakneck speed in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and NLP (Natural Language Processing), Computer Vision, IoT along with seamless connectivity between appliances of different manufacturers will impact the evolution of ‘Smart Appliances’ in coming days. These technological advancementsand the focus on providing personalized experience by capturing the consumer behavior will fuel the future growth and trends. Consumers now have more reasons to eagerly look forward to an even more attractive and exciting deluge of offerings for their homes.
Data Sharing with manufacturers and third party
In the digital economy, data is the new oil and integration is the key driver. It helps the manufacturers to fine-tune their current offerings, come up with few products and create new use-cases. We will see more and more appliances manufacturers to provide interfaces to get the data from the users in real time and also to connect with other service or product providers to make consumer life easy. For e.g. your cooktop can recommend recipe based on content for your refrigerator or your refrigerator can alert you on the stock status and help in ordering from the store. AI and Big Data plays the key role in converting this to reality.
5G rollout is addressing the biggest concerns of the connected world - Latency and Data Rate. With latency of 1ms and data rate of 100Mbps or 1Gbps for a hotspot, the real time applications are limitless.
Most of current ‘Connected’ Devices of today use WIFI, Bluetooth, Zigbee or Z-wave and have no connection to the Internet at all except through a hub. Also, devices with different protocols do not talk to each other. The IoT world is fragmented due to weak Wi-Fi, a lack of uniform protocols and the restrictions of LTE. This lack of uniformity and Interoperability has held back consumers in investing in the products of their choice and constrained the manufacturers as well by increasing the cost by supporting multiple protocols.
5G, comes as a boon, by allowing devices to communicate with each other directly while addressing issues of range, data rate and latency. Incompatibility in the IoT world could be a thing of the past due to promise of 5G.
As most of current devices use Mesh network schema, the devices at home struggle with network congestion as their number increase. WiFi-6 can handle competing requests for bandwidth far more efficiently and intelligently. Also, it leads to dramatic improvement in battery-life through the increased range and faster and efficient data transfer. It will also address and alleviate many security issues by adding additional security layer on top of current framework.
Smart Dust, security drones, 3-D vision and gesturesensinghas the potential to revolutionize the way we look at securing our homes.
The nomenclatureof Smart Dust has ‘Dust’ to emphasis its size. These are small wireless microelectromechanical sensors spanning only a few millimeters that can detect everything from light to vibrations. It encompasses Nanostructured silicon sensor which can spontaneously assemble, orient sense and report on their local environment. This new technology combines sensing, computing, wireless communication capabilities and autonomous power. Smart Dust is useful in monitoring real world phenomenon without disturbing the original process. This opens up a new dimension of use cases in security and surveillance.
3D Face Recognition Smart Lock, Wireless Doorbell, security dronesalong with Smart Dust can be used to create a robust invisible geo-fencing and secure the house pro-actively.
Smart Lighting and Ambient environment
The programmable lighting and climate control are already helping the home owners to make homes more energy efficient by regulating the temperature and lighting of different parts of the home at different times of the day. Now, with wearable devices, other sensors in the house as well as based on behavioral and usage patterns of appliances and living spaces, the mood, the health and the Circadian Rhythm is known. This data can be used to create an ambient and healthy environment by managing humidity levels, airflow, ventilation, indoor air quality and temperature as well as smart ambient lighting and music. This will lead to even morecomfort and pleasant experience at home.
AR (Augmented Reality) / VR (Virtual Reality) / MR (Mixed Reality) has captured the popular imagination for a long time now. It has been part of Sci-Fi genre in Hollywood for years. But lack of good user experience and costs have been a big hurdle. Case in point – Google Glass and 3D TVs.
AI, IoT and strides in computer vision have beenworkingtogether to provide the immersive experience solutions. Pokémon-Go took the world by storm few years ago but nothing worthwhile came after that. Smart entertainment is a big use case for smart spaces at homes that are interactive environments where humans and technology can seamlessly communicate with each other with blurring of digital and physical boundaries. The Holy Grail in VR is to create a true sense of presence by making the viewer believe, even for a split second, they’re truly inside the virtual world. The developments in Stereoscopic 360 VR is what the world awaits eagerly. Companies like Virtuix, Improbable, Sphero, Merge Labs, Zwift are some of the companies that are doing some good work in the field.
Even better Voice Assistants / Smart Speakers
Voice being the natural choice of humans for interactions and instructions, the consumers have adopted the offerings of Voice Assistants in a big way. The smart speakers based on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant etc. are already in use for ordering of food, cabs, online shopping, calls, setting reminders, streaming music etc. The U.S. smart speaker market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 25% due to the increasing penetration of smart homes in the country. The smart speaker manufacturer market is also getting very crowded. While the biggest players in the current market are Amazon and Google; Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, LG and many other players are also making their presence felt in the market.
The next wave will include more personalization - We’ll see these speakers becoming smarter with more Augmented Intelligence being used to capture and learn from consumer behavior and proactively second guess their next actions.
Also, privacy concerns when the speaker captures user information within user’s explicit intent as well as lack of visual interface is seen as a constraint for more deeper penetration and adoption. Google and Amazon are already working on Visual response / display capabilities of their offering for a while and we should see some very innovative use-cases hitting the market very soon.
What’s most exciting about the idea of smart appliances is that they will become increasingly more convenient, learning your preferences and making lives easier. More and more household appliances are becoming smarter - From scales hooked up to recipe apps, smart fridges, dryers and washers, cooktop and Smart Wi-Fi cookers. As we approach next year, we will see more offerings of appliances withWi-Fi, projection-interfaces and voice like ovens, microwaves thatwill take experience of cooking to the next level. Amazon, Google, Whirlpool have their R&D projects on making the whole kitchen a single digital entity – the Digital Twinning of kitchen in already in place.
Smart Mirrors are now one of the new offering in the market. While ‘electronic’ toilets have been around, especially in Japan, ‘smart toilets’ are now getting mainstream. These smart toilets won’t just warm up the seat, auto-flush, deodorize or manage gesture-based seat movement, they will help in tracking health by analyzing stool and urine and connect with your health records. There are now many companies offering a comprehensive solution for smartening up your bathroom with everything from heated toilets and smart showers to voice-activated mirrors and perfect fill tubs.
To conclude, we are living in exciting times and home owners can look forward to very futuristic home living experience in a very near future that not only makes for an energy efficient and secure home, but also takes care of health and emotional well being of its inhabitants.