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Smart Home: Technology, Benefits and Its Future

by | Mar 15, 2022 | Community, Utopia




Last Updated on August 14, 2022

How a smart home will look like

Imagine, it’s the morning, and the alarm clock starts buzzing earlier than usual because your smart clock has scanned your schedule and adjusted it based on the task that needs to be completed today.

Your shower automatically turns on at your preferred temperature when you went in. Once you get out of the shower, your intelligent coffee machine starts brewing coffee to your preferred taste. The electric car is fully charged and ready to go.

On your return, there’s an unexpected package waiting at your doorstep. In it, there are all your groceries with your favorite brand and also some medicine. Your health sensors and wearables have detected signs of a forthcoming illness and order the required treatment automatically.

And based on your inventory and consumption, your virtual assistant has ordered the groceries and everything was delivered by drone. This is what the future may look like, smart and somehow conscious.

The way we live in and use our homes is set to change. From connected fridge to bathroom shower, your smart home appliances and furniture will form one integral asset.

What is a smart home?

A smart house refers to a home arrangement where appliances and devices are interconnected. Everything can be controlled from anywhere via a mobile phone or other connected devices using internet access. Some devices can even work autonomously to some extent.

Thanks largely to the Internet of Things (IoT) where devices such as ovens, washing machines, thermostats, lighting, fridge, alarm, security, and many more, have become smarter.

The Internet of Things is a network of objects that are connected to the internet. The IoT allows devices to interact with each other via the internet. This interaction can allow devices to share data, control each other, and more.

The data exchanged can be used to improve the user experience and ease of life. IoT uses sensors to collect data based on user habits. The technology can set temperature, adjust lighting, or cook based on your taste and preference.

Smart home technology

Technology is facing exponential growth where our devices are shrinking in size while getting more powerful. And smart home technology is not without exception since appliances are getting smaller, smarter, and cheaper.

Smart home technology is basic home devices that have been fitted with communication technology to give them some degree of autonomy, intelligence, and remote control. 

To achieve these features a lot of advanced technology is needed. Without artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), it would be impossible to think of this home of the future. These two foundational technologies are the central element of an intelligent home.

Since almost everybody has voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Siri, we’ve become more familiar with some aspects of AI functionality. Artificial intelligence is used to add some degree of intelligence to machines or devices. And it does so by processing data that we generate.

By processing data that we generate, AI can improve itself, and get better at understanding commands and thus responding in more relevant ways. A connected home power by AI can understand residents’ tastes and preferences to deliver better experiences and ease of life.

The data that AI processes is collected by the internet of things as well as voice assistants. The IoT is basically all the appliances that are connected to the internet to exchange data.

Speaking of the internet, we are seeing technology like the 5G network starting to enter the mainstream. Connectivity is very important in the smart home of the future especially if there are devices that can make decisions autonomously.

According to the World Economic Forum, the 5G technology will have 2.6 billion subscribers by 2025, putting the value of the annual global IoT market at a staggering USD 3.9 – 11.1 trillion by 2025.

Low latency and processing power are very important for autonomous devices. And more important storage space is needed since a large volume of data is generated and collected.

Usually, we rely on cloud computing to provide storage space and processing power but it has some flaws. Cloud servers are afar which requires the data to travel long distances thus increasing latency.

Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from one place to another. Hence edge computing is providing the solution to this problem. Edge computing gives the necessary computing near to where data is generated. It is like a mini cloud on the edge of devices.

Edge computing and 5G reduce latency to deliver speed and more comfort to the user through home automation. These advanced technologies are gearing up the home automation aspect for convenience but are also a model for energy efficiency.

The smart home of the future will likely be a hybrid entity running on solar energy as well as grid energy. With embedded batteries and solar panels, homeowners can decide which part of the house will be powered by solar, or which one by grid electricity.

Solar panels will replace roof tiles to effectively capture and store solar energy to power the domicile. These technologies not just create a smarter dwelling but a net zero home as well. With energy-efficient appliances, the carbon footprint of the home can be reduced.

The smart home market was valued at USD 86.48 billion in 2020 and it is projected to increase by a CAGR of approximately 21.1% from 2021-2028. The market is expected to hit USD 380.52 billion by 2028.

Autonomous and remote control technology that connects various household functions, from lighting to temperature is starting to form part of normal daily life. 

Also, the impact of the pandemic has seen us spending more time and money at home and on comforts, making the connected devices market grow even bigger. The market for smart home devices was valued at USD 34.8 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 139 billion by 2030.

Benefits of smart homes

There are many benefits to opting for smart home technologies. They are considered to have a positive environmental impact. Consumers are quite motivated by some of the environmental benefits that can come from having intelligent devices.

According to a report, 24% of European consumers are ‘Eco Active’ and by 2025 over 40% of consumers’ buying behavior will be more environmentally friendly. Companies are innovating to seize this green opportunity.

A company called Ecojoko has created an energy assistant that analyzes electricity consumption and makes recommendations to users on how to reduce energy waste. Smarter homes can save homeowners on energy bills.

With energy-efficient appliances and intelligent management systems that monitor energy usage, this can reduce energy consumption. A study reveals that smart heating and cooling systems can save 50% on energy use.

According to research,  63 million American homes will qualify as “smart” in 2022. There are already at least 8.7 billion connected IoT devices in 2020 and this number is estimated to reach 25.4 billion by 2030.

As smart home technology becomes easier to use, its benefits become more clear. Growth is expected to continue as consumers are adopting multiple devices within their residence and the global availability of products and services are increasing.

Home-monitoring and security gadgets will represent 22.6% of the smart-home market share by 2023, with intelligent speakers and lighting equipment not far behind at 15.4% and 11.8% respectively.

Technological developments are going well beyond what’s available on store shelves today and will drive smart-home technology. A company called Lasso has created a home-recycling system that automatically sorts garbage.

Consumer desire for connected intelligent devices has increased during the pandemic, and will likely continue to go up in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact on the future of connected homes as consumers have transformed their living spaces into working, learning, and leisure area through the rapid adoption of intelligent products.

In fact, within the EU7 countries alone, the sales value of smart products has increased by 24% in 2020, reaching $28 billion. In the same year, it was estimated that 37% of United States households owned a smart home device.

Home automation is a dwelling technology that allows a homeowner to control almost every aspect of their residence remotely. According to a report, the home automation market is expected to reach $151.4 billion by 2024.

With a steep market and competitive industry being molded for home automation platforms, companies and tech providers are working to introduce smarter home devices in the near future. Connected houses are an exciting area still growing and we are currently only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Future of smart homes

The smart home future is looking brighter than ever. Artificial intelligence (AI) controls a lot of things in our lives nowadays. You might already have some kind of AI-powered gadget at home.

And in a connected home of the future, AI technology could serve as the brain and learn about residents. Hence, coordinating and automating all of the various smart gadgets within the connected house.

And with advanced AI, future smart home devices will be able to automatically predict your actions and perform tasks even before you ask them to.

A company called Crestron is working on software that tracks a person’s habits like which music they would prefer in the morning or the lighting power they like at certain times of the day. Based on the data collected on the user’s preferences, it automatically plays the right music or adjusts the lights.

And as more sensors are embedded into the connected house, machine learning (ML) algorithms which is a subdomain of AI can process the data to seek patterns and learn from them. The algorithm can improve itself by learning from your habits to serve you better.

But at this stage, ethical and moral code is extremely important to prevent these intelligent systems from turning against the user. Of course, as our homes learn more about us, keeping them secure will become a priority.

The large amount of private data collected raises privacy concerns. Every Internet-connected device is a potential target for hackers. The problem with IoT devices is that they create a lot of weak points that cybercriminals can exploit.

There is a lot of trend in cybersecurity these days. Cybersecurity is important to protect homeowners again cyberattacks. Cyberattack has more than tripled since 2020. It is estimated that 40.8% of smart homes have at least one device vulnerable to cyberattacks which can compromise the whole home security system.

When we’re talking about devices that can unlock homes, cameras all over the place, and a collection of sensitive and personal data, cybersecurity is extremely vital. Smart home systems must be updated regularly to better protect users from attacks.

For instance, smart home security systems will be able to notify users of possible threats or intruders. Sensors, the use of biometric data, and thermal cameras would create a safe and secure home environment. With these technologies, child movement can also be monitored throughout the residence. 

Moreover, robotics also will have a role to play in the smart home of the future. Intelligent vacuum cleaners like iRobot’s Roomba has already entered people’s life. There is also Aibo, a robotic dog that accompanies proprietors like a pet.

Smart-home robot concept called CARL design by Design3 is a bot that rolls around your domicile equipped with retractable cameras and sensors to detect intruders and can notify homeowners about potential threats.

Another company called Nvidia is working on a smart robotic arm that can act as a personal sous chef, doing things like slicing and dicing veggies to helping with cleanup which could be useful for busy parents or disabled people.

Health applications will also drive smart home growth, with the growing aging population and decline in the birth rate. There will be fewer people to take care of the elder. Internet of Medical Things will enter future smart homes to allow remote patient monitoring.

Smart wearable devices and other smart medical devices can track user health status and transmit real-time information to healthcare practitioners who analyze the data and give feedback without having to go to the hospital or healthcare cabinet. Sensors can also assess if you are taking your medicine regularly.

The future of connected dwellings looks very promising. These houses encourage a healthy lifestyle as well. Smart refrigerators embedded with cameras and sensors can suggest more healthy and nutritious alternatives based on the available grocery in the fridge.

Smart homes can also alert you if you are taking too many sugary snacks or sodas. A study reveals that 86% of millennials would pay more for a connected residence.

Final words

A decade from now, experts say that the Internet of Things (IoT) will form an integral part of your life. And with advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), smart homes will be able to learn about their owners and anticipate their needs.

Developments in robotics will offer some kind of assistance and a helping hand to homeowners. Sensors and wearables will keep track of well-being. And more importantly, the data that intelligent accommodation collected and how machine learning process it and act upon will help turn smart gadgets and accessories into “conscious” devices.

Architect Michael Gardner from construction firm Luxus Design Build quotes that people are likely to end up in a connected home one day as houses are increasingly being built “smart” from the ground up.