The 5 biggest smart home trends in 202014. January 2020
The 5 biggest smart home trends in 2020
New York, January 14, 2020
According to Bernard Marr, a futurist and technology insider, the smart homes wave will continue in the US this decade, he recently wrote in an article for “Forbes” He is convinced that his fellow countrymen have already got used to connecting everyday devices in their homes to the Internet and each other to make the places where they live more comfortable, economical, fun and safe.
How did he come up with that? He cites research showing that the value of the smart home device market will increase from $55 billion in 2016 to $174 billion in 2025. What does that mean? Well: What we see today in networked, intelligent household appliances and applications is only the tip of the iceberg.
I can already see thousands of Americans in front of me cursing over the wires in their homes. Eliminating fun – because Marr is not entirely wrong when he points out that the technology underlying this revolution in the way we live is becoming faster and faster and more powerful. Okay, but what does that mean exactly? Marr knows: home automation and artificial intelligence will provide home help in new and innovative ways. Now I am curious to see what the Americans will be pleased about first, and then, a year or two later, we too.
But before he gets to the highlights that are supposed to delight his fellow citizens in 2020, he says, a thorough clean-up is needed. One problem that is causing considerable headaches in building a smart home is the range of incompatible platforms and standards. Is there a solution? It’s simple: manufacturers of smart home devices must increasingly ensure that their products and services work on platforms from Amazon, Google, Samsung and Apple in order to attract the broadest possible customer base, Marr.
But the problem is that consumers run the risk of being “tied” to a particular network operator – which often limits their options if a particular tool or device they need doesn’t work well with their favourite platform. On top of that, there is the annoyance of having to use a whole range of different apps to set up and control devices from different manufacturers in your smart home. Who has the solution?
It is encouraging that Apple, Google and Amazon are working together to develop standards that will make smart homes simpler and above all safer. But this nonsense with incompatible devices will become more and more common, the insider believes.
Then he announces: Smart homes will actually become smart through machine learning.
The term “smart” is quite often misused in the field of home automation. For example: lights that can be programmed from the phone, automatic blinds and video door bells – all very nice and this could make our home more comfortable or safer. But household appliances do not automatically become “intelligent” just because they are connected to the Internet. So most of the technology we’ve seen so far is being given a new name: “Connected Home”.
There is a compelling reason for this: the devices of the future will use machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and other technologies, and they will also be able to think, make decisions and learn.
Whoo! Whoa!! My refrigerator thinks? And it’s going to say it out loud, “Out with the ice cream or I’ll throw the coke bottles!” No, I’m just kidding. What’s coming is intelligent. Cool, efficient intelligence. As an introduction to the new wonderland of the smart home, Marr cites the intelligent thermostat systems from Nest and Honeywell – because they use machine learning to adapt their behavior to the occupants of a house, based on observation and subsequent repetition of their habits. This year, the futurist says, Americans will see more AI-driven technology such as facial recognition becoming a part of home security systems. We will also see more refrigerators that use computer vision to see what’s inside and machine learning algorithms that predict what to order – and then make the order itself.
Robots in the house. Hardly a topic here, because at first it’s quite funny how busily these turntables struggle through the house, but in doing so consume more electricity than they absorb dust. Why? Because they were not really intelligent. But now, says Marr, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, we can expect them to become more and more intelligent and help us with more and more tasks. He promises his countrymen From cooking and cleaning to escorting and healthcare, all possible uses for robots like LG’s CLOi and Trifo’s Lucy will be explored.
In a nutshell, household robots promise a future in which everyday tasks can be performed by machines, freeing up valuable time for other things than housework and routine maintenance. For the elderly and disabled, they will also act as a reassuring pair of extra eyes, capable of calling for help when they sense someone has fallen, or helping with mobility around the home.
Although full-humanoid robot butlers will not yet appear in households because they are too expensive, autonomous mobile robots will undoubtedly become more common in 2020. They will also become cheaper as a number of manufacturers compete to develop the most helpful and marketable products.
Home care is becoming smarter
Intelligent healthcare at home offers the potential to reduce some of the pressures that traditional channels of healthcare – doctors and hospitals – inevitably face as a result of rising life expectancy and a growing older population.
Some of this will be achieved through preventive measures – such as wearables that help us lead healthier lifestyles by monitoring our activity levels, sleep quality and nutrition. Other devices will provide interventional services that will allow us, for example, to contact doctors remotely, alert caregivers when an elderly person falls into their home, or even diagnose illness using AI.
With the current Apple watch, an electrocardiogram (ECG) can be performed to detect patterns or irregularities in the heartbeat that could serve as early warning signs of illness. This type of technology will become increasingly common over the next year (and beyond), reducing the need for outpatient appointments. Data collected by smart home devices at home will become increasingly useful in the medical field, as they can provide round-the-clock insight into the condition of patients in their “natural habitat”, far from the stress of clinics and hospitals.
Faster networks mean smarter homes
With the global adoption of 5G and improved WiFi technology such as WiFi 6, smart home devices are connected through faster and more powerful networks, providing better access to data and processing resources in the cloud.
In particular, 5G promises to revolutionize the delivery of IoT services – including smart home technology – by enabling devices to operate without wires and cables and with minimal power consumption. In addition, far more devices can be connected simultaneously than was possible with older mobile phone standards. This will be a key factor as households in densely populated areas continue to be filled with a growing number of devices, all hungry for bandwidth. Similarly, WiFi 6 offers advantages over earlier standards in enabling devices to handle competing requests for network access (a problem many of us will have experienced, even if we routinely connect only a few smartphones, tablets and laptops to our home networks at a time).
Faster networks don’t just mean faster data transfer between devices or between devices and the cloud. It also means that increasingly sophisticated applications using larger and faster data streams are becoming an option. Devices such as intelligent thermostats and automated security systems will have access to more diverse and up-to-date information to make the predictions on which their usefulness is based. As a result, they will become increasingly reliable and efficient over the course of 2020.