Emerging Trends On Smart Home Technology

Alok Hada, Director, Anusha TechnovisionHaving completed MBA in Sales & Marketing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Alok has been associated with Anusha Technovision for over 18 years now, prior to which he held the role of Senior Engineer – Sales at Lutron Electronics.

Smart Home products and home automation are making our day-to-day life easy, smarter and more comfortable ever. Technology is also growing daily in this field, making smart homes and related devices the face of the IoT (Internet of Things). In recent years, we’ve become used to connecting everyday devices in our homes with the internet and to each other to make our residences more comfy, economical, entertaining and safe. This trend is certainly set to continue, with the smart home appliances & applications being just the tip of the iceberg.

The technology driving this automation revolution continues to improve daily, growing faster and more intuitive. We can expect home automation and artificial intelligence to offer domestic help in new and innovative ways. Here are four emerging trends that we expect to see in the coming months and years –

Machine Learning Helps Smart Homes Actually Become ‘Smart’
The term ‘smart’ is often used improperly when people talk about home technology. Lights that are programmed from your phone, window blinds that are automated, and video doorbells are all good as they help in creating a safer and comfier home. But home devices or appliances don’t become smart just because they are plugged into the internet. A more appropriate term for the technology we’d see today would be ‘connected home’.

This is set to change over the coming years, as more and more devices shall be augmented to make use of machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and other technologies that are capable of thinking, learning and making decisions. Some devices already have this feature – smart thermostat systems use machine learning to adapt their functions and behaviour to the inhabitants of a house on the basis of observation and then replication of their habits. Going forward, we can expect to see more AT-driven technology such as facial and voice recognition becoming a feature of home security systems.
We will also see more refrigerators that use computer vision to ‘view’ what’s inside, and machine learning algorithms to predict what you need to order, and then making the order themselves.

Robotics for Residential Spaces
The trend of robots in homes started with robotic vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers. However, with advancements in artificial intelligence, we expect them to become smarter and capable of helping with an expanding range of tasks.

From cleaning your household and cooking food to providing companionship and healthcare, all manners of usage and application are being explored for robots. Domestic robots provide hope for a future where day-to-day tasks can be carried-out by machines, freeing us to spend our time on things more valuable than chores and routine maintenance. For the elderly and disabled, they will also act as a reassuring pair of extra eyes, able to make a call for help if they sense that an individual is in distress or provide mobility around the home.

With advancements in artificial intelligence, we expect the robots to become smarter and capable of helping with an expanding range of tasks

While it is unrealistic to expect fully humanoid robotic butlers in most homes for some time, we will see autonomous and mobile robots becoming more common, useful and cheaper in the next few years, as a number of manufacturers are set to compete to create the most intuitive and marketable products.

Increasing Standardisation
One of the biggest conundrums when putting together a smart home is undoubtedly the competing range of platforms and standards. Increasingly, manufacturers of smart home devices need to ensure that their products and services are compatible with platforms provided by Amazon, Google, Samsung, and Apple to capture the largest target audience. And the audience themselves run the risk of finding themselves ‘tied in’ to a particular network provider – which often ends-up limiting the options available if a particular tool or device they need won’t sync properly with their favourite platform. There’s also the mild annoyance of needing to use a whole bunch of different apps to set-up and control all the varying devices from different manufacturers in your smart home.

Relying on a cluster of different solutions also poses a security threat; so it’s encouraging to see plans from Apple, Google and Amazon to team-up to create a set of standards designed to make smart homes simpler and more secure. The decisions to design, develop and sell solutions to system integrators will work with the numerous smart home systems becoming increasingly common in the next decade.

In-home Healthcare Gets Smarter
Smart healthcare at home offers the potential to reduce some of the stress put on traditional healthcare professionals and channels – doctors, nurses and hospitals – that is inevitably caused by increasing life expectancy and a growing elderly populace. Some of these will be achieved by preventative measures such as wearable devices that help us to lead a healthier and better lifestyle by monitoring our activity levels, quality of sleep and nutrition. Other devices will offer their interventions, for e.g. allowing us to remotely connect with medical practitioners, alert the care providers when an elderly person is in distress, or even diagnose illnesses through AI.This is where higher resolution of displays becomes extremely important during a surgery while the surgeon is looking for that miniscule abnormal growth that would normally not be visible on a low resolution monitor.