Your home is your domain and as technology advances, you want to reign supreme as its monarch. Real estate infrastructure is developing immensely with the latest technology that leverages the here-and-how, and up-and-coming IoT solutions. Welcome to the dawn of the smart home!
Smart Home Fundamentals
‘Smart homes’ refer to an arrangement of a residential location where appliances and devices can be automatically controlled from anywhere via a mobile device and the internet. Every appliance in a smart home is connected to each other via the internet, allowing the user to remotely control functions such as home security, temperature, lights, home cinema and more. In essence, a smart home is a context-aware residential space and more an experience than just a mere infrastructure.
Devices in a smart home are interconnected and can be reached using a single central point. This can range from a smartphone to a game console. All smart devices in a network can be managed by a single automated system, installed on a mobile (or any other web-connected) device. When linked, services such as smart locks, smart security systems, and all smart gadgets become part of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which is a network of electronic devices that can gather and share date.
To visualize the future smart home, imagine the moment you step into your car from work. When you are minutes away from arriving at your house your car GPS detects your location to signal your smart watch, which in turn communicates with the home thermostat. Based on your body temperature, the home air conditioners adjust the temperature for maximizing your comfort while the lights turn on with the right amount of brightness. Doors open and close automatically as you go to your shower where a perfectly warm or cold shower awaits you. With minimal interaction your home comprehends your needs and makes intelligent decisions accordingly.
Currently there are already at least 7 billion connected IoT devices, as per the data of market-research company, IoT Analytics. According to Swedish research firm Berg Insight, 63 million American homes will fall under the “smart” category within 2022 and this will encompass everything ranging from connected light bulbs to home security cameras. However, in the years to come, the change from utilizing our voices to completely immersive experiences in the IoT awaits this growing real estate phenomenon.
According to advisory firm ABI Research, consumers will spend $123 billion on IoT gear by 2021. Research firm IDC estimates that in addition to internet-connected televisions, producers are putting their R&D and marketing funds into home-monitoring and security gadgets to claim 22.6% of the smart-home market share by 2023. Smart speakers and lighting equipment are slightly behind, at 15.4% and 11.8% respectively
Savings All the Way
Smart homes may help you save on energy costs by controlling device wake times. IoT devices may be put to sleep and reawakened with the right commands, and thus reduce overall power consumption, and lower electricity bills. A few gadgets are capable of tracking how much energy each appliance consumes and issuing commands to the energy-hogs to consume less power.
When you are minutes away from arriving at your house your car GPS detects your location to signal your smart watch, which in turn communicates with the home thermostat.
Ongoing developments in the robotics arena can offer support with household chores and lifestyle improvement. Smart vacuum cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba makes household cleanup tasks easier. On the other hand, products like the Aibo, a robotic dog for children, provide a technological alternative to owning a pet. Looking beyond, robotic-furniture company, Ori Living is collaborating with Ikea on furniture that change based on your requirements such as getting the bed out of the way when you need to work on your desk, or concealing your closet at mealtimes. Nvidia is developing a smart robotic arm that can do everything from cutting vegetables to assisting with cleanup.
Health applications will drive a significant portion of the smart-home market growth over the next decade. For instance, cameras and sensors implanted in refrigerators can suggest more nutritious substitutes if people are reaching for unhealthy options regularly. Similar tech can support senior citizens to check if they have taken their prescriptions from their medicine cabinets. Additionally, sensors in toilets have the potential to check for signs of any potential health conditions by diagnosing human waste. Finally, households will have health sensors on the premises, to analyze and alert homeowners about water sanitation, pest infestation, air condition, and so forth.
Vital to all of this is the vast amount of data that smart homes can and will collect for analysis. As artificial intelligence progresses, the smartest homes will better understand their occupants, ultimately preempting their needs with minimal or no human interaction.
A few gadgets are capable of tracking how much energy each appliance consumes and issuing commands to the energy-hogs to consume less power
Smart Devices vs. Smart Systems
To understand what the top offerings in the smart home market are, we must first take a look at some terminology. A ‘smart system’ is essentially what you talk to when you want something to happen. Alexa and Google Assistant are examples of smart systems. They are command centers that manages your various items. On the other hand, a ‘smart device’ is an individual product that communicates with the smart system. Amazon Echo and Philips Hue are examples of smart devices.
Let us take a look at some of the top smart home gadgets and systems, so you can determine which is best for you.
Best Smart Home Systems
When looking to buy a smart-home system, you should consider reading user reviews online, as well as understand the integration process. While the customers’ opinions will tell you if the technology is high-quality or not, the information about the integration process will tell you how many items you can really connect to your system.
While analyzing integrations, remember to look into the smart devices you currently own and check whether they are compatible with the system. The most effective smart home systems nowadays are driven by cutting-edge technology and provide a multitude of third-party integration options.
Your smart home experiences will be much more enjoyable if all your gadgets are connected properly, function well, and are simple to use.
Here are the 3 major smart home systems in the market today:
1. Amazon Alexa
2. Google Assistant
3. Samsung SmartThings Hub
Best Smart Speaker:
Amazon Echo (fourth generation) is undoubtedly at the forefront for a gadget that can meet your everyday demands at a reasonable price. Echo is still the countertop sovereign, thanks to its aesthetic design, excellent sound output, and action prediction features.
Best Smart Light
The Philips lighting kit offers 16 million colors, with 50,000 white hues, helping users set the perfect ambience. The Philips Hue bulb lets you control the intensity, as well as the color of your lights.
Best Smart Plug
The ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 may not be the smallest smart plug on the market, but it provides separate controls for two outlets, has a convenient USB charging connection, and keeps you updated on how much power each outlet is consuming.
Best Home Security System
SimpliSafe’s quick and easy installation and easy to understand DIY home security system is outstanding. It comes with a complete set of functions, security cameras and a brilliant mix of battery-powered sensors.
Best Smart Kitchen Appliance
The Brava Oven is one of the most innovative smart ovens in the market. It can prepare food in ten various ways, has numerous automated cooking settings for both ingredients and meals, and has built-in cameras that let you monitor the preparation of your food on your smartphone.
Causes for Concern
The threat of hackers and cybersecurity concerns become more critical to consider as every device that is connected to the internet is a potential target for criminals. It is alarming to think that some with a few keystrokes can open our locks, view into our rooms, and steal our most private data. A series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults carried out by the Mirai malware in October 2016 left much of the internet inaccessible on the U.S. east coast. The malware exploited unprotected entry points of smart devices such as cameras, DVRs, and routers, and built its own botnet to execute large-scale network attacks. Due to such attacks, there are many who are opposed to smart home systems. According to a survey conducted by NTT Data, 73 percent of customers are worried about compromising their privacy because of the smart gadgets in their homes.
Nevertheless, in today’s world, both industrial and commercial infrastructure are being equipped with IoT technology, which is powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE). With that in mind, it is no wonder that residential infrastructure is next on the list. You are more likely than not to end up in a connected home one day, whether you mean to or not. Why not take the first step to your future home today?
The Writer is the CEO of MCFG and the Executive Director of Global Chamber Dhaka. He can be reached at email@example.com