As technology improves and globalization expands through various means, we have seen more and smarter home technology trickle into the market. As the trend continues, one has to ask what we can expect our homes to look like over the next few years. What changes are coming, and how will they affect our day-to-day life at home?
Voice Control for Everything
Recent studies show we have been using voice control options more and more. As voice recognition technology improves and becomes more reliable, it has become the go-to option for inputs. In fact, one study shows, in the next few years, voice input will make up 50% of all inputs. That’s a lot of talking to machines.
But, it isn’t just Siri or Alexa you’ll be talking to. The latest refrigerator from Samsung, the SmartHub, accepts voice inputs. The SmartHub will set reminders, add things to your grocery list, and even play music.
Music, as it stands, is actually the most popular voice input, with 61% of commands requesting to play songs.
It makes sense that voice commands are popular. For one, the advent is hands-free, which means you don’t have to fiddle with your device to get the desired outcome. That makes it ideal for multi-taskers or people on the go.
Always Connected Devices
In the smart home of the future, practically everything will be connected to the internet. We see it in refrigerators, washers and dryers, and even our beds and closets.
What benefit could all these connected devices serve, though?
Well, for one, it makes centralized control even easier. If you have a lamp that is always connected, it will likely have an app that you can download on your phone. From there, controlling it is as simple as opening the app, and you could control turning it on/off, its brightness, and possibly even the color.
Centralized control is the biggest benefit of always-connected devices. Giving users the ability to control everything about their home from their computer or smartphone is convenient and efficient. Plus, if something is acting up or malfunctioning, users will be able to find and fix it faster than if it were not connected.
However, consumers have shown that – while they want the convenience of connected devices – they don’t want to pay a premium for them. In fact, 57% of users don’t want to purchase a new device at all. Many of them simply want to adapt their current devices to integrate into a network.
Luckily for the majority of consumers, that is a possibility. Smart plugs and other accessories exist to help connect existing devices to the internet, and the cost of doing so is significantly less than shelling out for pricey new devices.
Higher Internet Speeds
Of course, adding more devices to the internet means eating up more bandwidth. That’s why higher internet speeds are becoming more and more necessary. Many telecom companies have stepped up to the task, offering insanely fast speeds for reasonable prices.
However, things aren’t perfect yet, as many of these companies struggle connecting to rural customers. These individuals have similar needs and wants, but don’t have the luxury of living in the city, where major technical innovations usually hit first.
Security Improvements and Concerns
In a way, smart homes of the future will be more secure than ever. There are already devices like Ring that show users who is at their door, and actively records activity there in case there is an incident. Consumers can also get devices that unify their security cameras, inform them of break-ins, and even automatically lock their doors.
Keeping your home secure is simpler than ever and will only continue to simplify as the technology improves. Most security providers have monitoring software so users can manage their devices from one location.
However, this security – and all IoT devices – has its drawbacks. Namely, when items are connected to the internet, they can become targets of hackers. This can seem scary to many users new to smart technology, but combining physical security with digital security is a good way to protect yourself from criminals of all types.
The entire goal of smart technology is to automate or simplify processes in the home. As AI technology improves and prepares for consumer markets, that’s when users will truly see a fully automated household.
Companies are already developing AI that can monitor individual behaviors and automate tasks (such as lights turning on and music being played) based on those recorded habits.
To some, it may seem Orwellian, but it will be incredibly convenient and a major step forward if done properly.
With proper AI integration, managing your IoT devices won’t even be necessary. The AI will manage all of those tasks for you.
This is especially true when one considers the role of robotics in the smart home to come. Roombas already help us clean our floors, but there are robotic devices being built that can assist with cooking and furniture that will adjust to its user’s needs. Combined with AI, all the daily tasks of your home may not be something you have to worry about ever again.
With so many new advancements to come, it can be hard to wrap your head around all the things one might need to do to prepare.
The best thing you can do is try to future proof with your purchasing decisions. If you’re in the market for new appliances, think about the ways it may integrate into a smart home later. If you can’t afford higher-end smart devices, consider budgeting for the accessories necessary to add them to your network.
It is even important to consider things like this when purchasing a home. Houses are being built with smart technology in mind and, more often than not, they already have some smart features. You may well end up in a smart home, or in a home that at least resembles it, at some point in your life, so it’s best to think ahead and prepare for it.