Technology has taken great strides in offering convenience and efficiency for people around the world. And as people become ever more dependent on smart devices, such devices and gadgets will become common in their day to day lives. We are already seeing a rising trend in the number of people who own a smartphone. Soon, that will translate to their homes. New devices and appliances are constantly being developed for home use. These gadgets not only offer convenience but efficiency and security as well. In the coming years, some of these smart home technologies will become more prevalent.
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1. Artificial Intelligence in Domestic Robots
Based on a report released by the International Federation of Robotics, the service robot industry in the United States alone is valued at $5.2 billion. This includes both industrial and domestic sectors. Home robots are estimated to contribute a whopping $11 billion in revenue by the year 2020.
Home robots have existed way back in the 1990s. One early example is a robot vacuum cleaner released by Electrolux. Domestic robots are primarily used in helping people do many of their domestic chores. They can be classified into three categories:
- Cleaning robots – vacuum cleaning, floor cleaning, pool cleaning, lawn mowing, and window cleaning.
- Entertainment – mainly hobby robots
- Security and surveillance – motion detection, machine vision, audio voice recorder
In the past couple of decades, cleaning robots have evolved to do many different, and often complicated, tasks. Many of the premium brands of cleaning robots are already in their 6th generation of products. Manufacturers are now looking into adopting AI technologies for vacuum cleaning, lawn mowing, and floor cleaning.
As of the moment, many manufacturers of these cleaning robots have started to collaborate with AI technology vendors and providers.
Primarily toy and hobby robots, it is predicted that entertainment robots will bring in revenue of $1.1 billion. The advances in technology have allowed advancement in robots and other mechanical machines. Creating robots became a fast-growing hobby for anyone to partake. It helped that the tools and equipment used to create complex machines capable of various tasks has also improved over the years.
Moving forward, entertainment robots with sophisticated AI capabilities will play a crucial part in markets like education because of the value of the technology.
Home Security and Surveillance
A start-up company in Berlin launched an AI-integrated home security camera called Flare. The crowdsourcing funded campaign gained enough investors that it now competes with the likes of Google Nest Cam and other similar products. Flare makes use of AI to recognize faces and is also capable of detecting suspicious sounds since it comes with an audio voice recorder.
Security companies plan to further integrate AI into security and surveillance systems to make it more capable of predicting and disrupting crimes before they even occur.
2. Smart Appliances
In this day and age where every home appliance can be labeled as smart, it can be difficult to truly define what a smart appliance really is. Verisure Smart Alarm and other products offer the most advanced technology available in security. It really all depends on connectivity and how connected devices provide a lot more convenience in their daily lives.
The Internet of Things
To label an appliance as smart, it should first be able to connect to a smartphone or tablet. This will give users the capability to control the appliance remotely providing them the convenience, efficiency, and safety, as well as peace of mind. A great example would be a smart stove that forgetful people can remotely check to see if they’ve left it on and if they did turn it off using an app. This level of connectivity in such devices and appliances is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things which is a definition that’s rooted in a device’s capability to connect to the internet and collect pertinent data to make them perform better and smarter.
Benefits of Connectivity
There are a lot of benefits to connectivity. For one thing, it makes the device or appliance a lot more energy efficient since many of these products are capable of collecting data about their usage and adjust power consumption to help users cut back on energy use. Smart appliances are also quite accessible especially for people who have injuries or disabilities. It’s easy enough to turn a light switch on and off through a mobile phone rather than physically getting up and flipping the switch.
Another benefit to connectivity within home appliances is it makes them safer especially for appliances that are used for cooking. Lastly, smart appliances increase the security of the home. A smart light bulb is a lot cheaper than getting a home security camera and can be used to periodically illuminate the home while residents are on vacation to make intruders think someone’s home.
3. Smart Lighting Controls
There was a time that people were able to shut lights on and off by merely clapping their hands. Those days are now far behind us as we have smart lights we can control through our mobile phones and tablets. It’s not just switching them on or off, too, that we can control these light fixtures. We can also change its level of brightness, intensity, and even color.
Smart lighting is basically any lighting that you can control from a mobile app. As mentioned previously, these types of lights don’t just turn on and off, they offer more functionalities than your typical lightbulb. These smart lights can be set in any number of ways that’s fitting to the scenario. They can be dimmed for movie night, lit up bright for when you host parties or set with the right illumination for when you’re reading.
New development in smart lighting technology will soon feature integration with any virtual assistant AI tech such as Siri, Alexa, or Cortana. Now, people will have the option to either control their home lighting through their phone or voice command.
4. Smart Toilets
People commonly think of smart appliances and smart lighting when they hear the phrase smart home. What many fail to associate are smart toilets. What was once a quirky Japanese bathroom accessory has topped everyone’s list of smart home features. They’re not only cool and super high-tech, but they also make people’s lives that much easier.
For the germaphobes out there who hate the idea of flushing toilets after using them, smart toilets come with futuristic flushing technology. Each sensor has a toilet that’s responsible for activating the flushing mechanism. This happens either when the person leaves the toilet or activated by waving a hand in front of the sensor.
This feature is especially useful when the toilet gets clogged. A smart toilet will not flush when it senses that there is a blockage to prevent it from overflowing.
Water-saving and energy efficient
Not only are smart toilets great at saving water, but it also conserves energy. The toilet senses how much water is needed in each flush and just allows the right amount to be used. One might think that all that technology is going to mean a lot of power is needed to keep smart toilets running but many smart toilets run on battery power which also has an added benefit of not needing an electrician to install it.
5. Home Energy Monitors
With energy cost continuously on the rise and the threat of energy scarcity looming over the world, it makes a lot of sense that technology would take a swing at developing a way to make power consumption more efficient. This is where home energy monitors enter the game and from the looks of it is going to become a permanent player when it comes to home power tracking.
Energy monitors are connected to the home’s power meter to show how much energy the home is using. It also provides information about how to make the home a lot more energy-efficient. Most monitors come with a variety of features, from generating recommendations for a more energy-efficient home to recognizing the power consumption of the different appliances in the home.
The need for home energy monitors came about due to the scarcity of information on electric bills. With people wanting more control over their power consumption, many are turning to these monitors to paint them an accurate picture of not only the amount of power their homes are consuming but also the appliances that consume the most energy.
Premium models of home energy monitors come equipped with real-time cost tracking, mobile app notifications, and solar-ready monitor options for homes who are considering installing solar panels.
6. Centralized Entertainment Systems
Terrestrial cable is largely seen as an overpriced and outdated piece of technology, not to mention a little inconvenient. But these buggy and slow entertainment set-ups are only part of the problem. It’s no wonder that so many people are migrating towards the numerous streaming services currently dominating the home entertainment market which provides homeowners quick access to their favorite form of entertainment.
Giants of video streaming include the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. As for music, Spotify dominates the landscape with Apple Music closing the gap. With the latest home entertainment devices already capable of connecting to the internet such as smart TVs and speakers, homeowners can simply relax in the comforts of their own home as they listen to their music or catch up on their favorite TV series.
The drawback to all these streaming services is it relies quite heavily on a reliable internet connection. But that said, future homes will soon include a centralized entertainment system as well as a streaming setup that’s designed to offer convenience and comfort. And as new technology emerges, tablet- and smartphone-based remotes will soon become commonplace.
7. Close and Private Networks
The rising popularity of wireless networks in many houses have made most homes vulnerable to cyberattacks. The amount of devices that are constantly connected to the internet in any single home at any given time, along with smart appliances that a lot of homes use, is almost staggering. That number is only projected to increase as people become increasingly dependent on internet-enabled devices. The downside, cyberattacks will become commonplace with the prevalent connectivity.
The solution, at least for homes, is to include closed and private network access for all the devices and smart appliances at home for safer connection. Today, it might require residents to get a dedicated router but hopefully, that won’t be needed in the future. Future wireless devices will automatically be installed in modern homes and subject them to a closed network.
This connects nicely to a personal home security system that can be used in tandem with a private network. Face recognition technology will mean homeowners can enter their homes without using any keys. A good security system that includes surveillance cameras with voice recorders will mean homeowners can continually monitor their homes even when they’re on vacation or away on business. The possibilities for a closed and private network is limitless.
Most of these technologies were only seen in science fiction movies and TV shows a couple of years back which, at that time, many people considered to be too good to be true. Now the scientists and engineers have made them into a reality. At this point, it’s almost difficult to fathom a time when we didn’t have smartphones or computers to help us get through our days.
Modern technology has advanced so rapidly that we get to do things that were once thought of as impossible just a couple of years ago. We can now control our TVs by using our mobile phone. We can watch movies and TV shows on our phones as well as on our TVs. At the touch of a finger, we can listen to any song, new or old. We can beef up the security in our homes without having to break the bank buying all the surveillance equipment. We are certainly living the golden age of technology and many are suggesting it is only the beginning.
Leanne Brooks is a passionate blogger and informative content writer who writes about home improvement, travel, and technology. She is currently working with EyeSpySupply, which offers a wide range of surveillance equipment and tracking device, including spy camera, nanny cams, GPS trackers, voice recorder and more.