The future of smart home technology
Technology is now a near-essential; with more and more of us turning to it to shop online, entertain us, keep us safe, and stay in touch with loved ones, friends and work colleagues.
Our increasing desire for connectivity and connected devices means that smart home tech has become increasingly embedded in our daily lives too. As this trend looks set to continue – research states that the value of the global smart home device market is set to grow from $55 billion in 2016 to $174 billion by 2025 – we can expect home automation to help us out like never before.
A Smart Home Week poll of 2,000 adults found that more than half (57 per cent) of UK households already have some sort of smart device to control their security, lights, or appliances such as a vacuum cleaner, speakers, or humble kettle – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Not just smart, intelligent
As more devices begin to make use of machine learning, computer vision, and other technologies that are actually capable of thinking and making decisions, we can expect to see more artificial intelligence (AI) driven innovations becoming a feature of home security systems.
Once reserved for James Bond and Q, biometric authentication, where technology remembers things like your fingerprint and facial features, will allow us to secure our property more easily than ever before. We’ll be able to walk up to our home and have the CCTV system recognise our face, unlocking the front door and disarming the alarm.
Integration between smart security devices and the rest of our smart home tech will also be the norm; and our smart home will know exactly how to set it up perfectly for us. When it recognises us coming up the drive it will open the front door, switch the lounge lights on to our favourite hue, turn the heating up to keep us cosy, and switch on the TV to our favourite channel.
The human touch
Growth in the global connected home market is expected to be driven by a new generation of older people who are more tech-savvy then the previous generation, and more inclined to invest in smart home solutions to make the places they live more economical, comfortable and safe.
A report commissioned by housing developer, McCarthy & Stone, predicts that ‘intelligent homes’ of the future will assess and manage our needs and desires in later life. Within the next 20 years, it says, future retirees are likely to be living in a ‘cognitive home’ that’s almost human.
When we enter these smarter houses and apartments, we’ll receive an update on what’s going on in and around our home so we can share details with loved ones and those who help us.
Also, when problems are on the horizon, we’ll expect to be alerted; even our fridges will talk to us and make sure we don’t run out of ingredients, automatically topping us up. These ‘intelligent’ appliances will use computer vision to see what’s inside, and machine learning algorithms to predict what we will run out of and when.
Over the next few years, smart healthcare is expected to be used to reduce the pressure put on our healthcare systems by the global pandemic, increasing life expectancy. Medical data collected by smart devices in the home will become increasingly useful, offering around-the-clock insights into a patient’s condition.
Wearables already help us to lead healthier lifestyles by monitoring the number of steps we take each day, and our sleep patterns and food intake, but other smart devices will allow us to remotely connect with medical practitioners, or alert carers.
Personal digital assistants could help us to self-diagnose at home, sparing us the effort and potential risks of a trip to a packed out GPs surgery, while ‘holorportation’ may allow users to see, hear, and interact with others remotely as if both are in the same room, via the use of 3D cameras.
Already helping us out with chores like vacuum cleaning and mowing the lawn, thanks to advances in AI, we can expect to see household ‘robots’ becoming increasingly smart and capable of more domestic tasks like cooking and cleaning.
Tech firm iRobot has already made its mark in the smart home products industry with the popular vacuum cleaning robot, Roomba, but others are aiming to go one step further. Trifo’s ‘Lucy’ robot actually roams around each room to identify any unwanted visitors, with two cameras and built-in surveillance software.
So, while we probably won’t be seeing almost human robot helpers putting out the bins for some time, smart home tech will become more common, useful and accessible as manufacturers compete to develop the most helpful and desirable products to meet the needs of today’s consumers.
If you’ve got any smart home-related questions, why not connect with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? We’re here to help you get better informed.