Alexas and Google Homes are becoming as commonplace as power strips and coffee pots in homes, leaving us to wonder: what will smart home technology look like in a year or two or 10? Will there be fully automated houses, activated with simple voice commands? How far are we from robotic butlers and self-cleaning bathtubs?
It sounds like something out of a science fiction story, but as smart home technology rapidly advances, some of these devices may not be as far off as we think. Read on to see what smart home trends to keep an eye on if you’re looking for the sci-fi home of your dreams—along with input from an expert on the smart home technology trends he’s looking out for.
The rise of 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will enable more and more smart home devices, making true smart home systems within reach for more people. As 70% of the US has social media accounts, faster network speeds are necessary for the true integrated “smart home” that connects multiple devices to create a seamless experience across your house, allowing you to surf the web, play the Spotify playlist your Facebook friend sent you, or quickly and easily search your Pinterest board for the perfect chicken masala recipe. Without them, your smart home will be limited to individual devices or systems that may work together with varying degrees of success.
Smart Device Conversion
As smart home technology advances, there will be more and more ways to convert your regular devices into smart ones at a low cost for most households. Some options, like smart plugs and smart bulbs, are already on the market, but keep an eye out for more ways to turn your regular device into a smart one.
According to 365businesstips.com, “Most existing smart home systems want you to buy into their specific network of devices: you need all Google products, or all Amazon, or all Nest or so on. To make smart home technology truly accessible and a widespread feature of most households, these systems will increasingly become more compatible with each other, allowing you to choose your favorite devices from different systems and incorporate them into one dream smart home of your design.”
Smart bathrooms are the next big wave of smart home technology. Personalized shower settings and even smart toilets are starting to appear. You can preset shower settings for different family members, allowing everyone to have their perfect temperature and water pressure, with some even allowing you to have custom lights and music. You’ll also see smart lighting and other more common smart tech start to populate bathrooms as we move toward luxurious at-home spas.
Smart thermostats are increasingly commonplace in home moving toward smart technology, but you’ll soon be able to control even more from your thermostat. Beyond temperature, you may see thermostats that control humidity, airflow, and more, creating exactly the right atmosphere for any room you’re in. Additionally, some models now integrate with Alexa, allowing you to play music or field calls from the device.
Your Roomba might have been at the cutting edge of home technology at some point, but the race is on to develop more advanced home assistant robots. LG has tested their CLOi model in hotels and airports to see how robot assistants could be integrated into our homes.
The idea is that your home robot will be a central point for all your smart home needs, enabling it to play music, check your fridge for ingredients, and set the temperature and lighting in your home for you. We’re still a long way from an Iron Man-style Jarvis or other robot butler, but we might start to see some of those features sooner than we thought.
Alexa and Siri were the frontier of widely used artificial intelligence, and that technology will only get smarter in 2020 and beyond. While AI has allowed the rise of plenty of smart home devices, like voice-controlled thermostats and speakers, the next wave of AI will integrate machine learning.
Machine learning allows the AI assistants—like the ones we currently use—to start anticipating our needs and offer help without us having to use a voice command. It could understand that guests will be arriving, automatically schedule a meeting, or set an alarm to make your life easier.
Personalized Security Alerts
Smart security is another huge trend of recent years, and it’s only getting better. Newer smart security systems are integrating AI and other features to recognize the difference between someone leaving a package and someone breaking in. As smart tech gets better at understanding the specific patterns of and threats to each household, it will be able to provide the right alarms at the right time, avoiding false alerts and making houses truly more secure.
Privacy Options for Face Recognition Tech
With increased technology and AI often comes an increased concern about privacy. One feature that’s starting to pop up in any camera-hosting device is a privacy shutter that allows you to block your webcam from being used or hacked without your permission. Instead of using a sticker or webcam blocker, you can simply slide the shutter open and shut to mitigate privacy concerns. These are becoming standard on laptops, smartphones, and other devices.
Motions like flicking the lights on and off are reflexive to many, making the switch to voice commands a tough one at times. One possible solution is gesture controls, where a designated movement will control the lights, temperature, or other aspect of your home. You don’t have to move to the device or speak at all, just simply gesture for dimmer lights or quieter music. This kind of tech requires camera use from at least one of your devices, so it may be awhile before you can use gesture control in any room of the house.
Homes are getting smarter and more connected, and it’s an exciting time to see what monotony we can remove from our day—and what luxuries we can add. With faster networks and more compatible and connected devices just around the corner, the development of smart home technology is sure to explode over the next few years. We’ll see more devices with more capability than ever before, and our homes will become a synchronized work of our, making our lives easier than ever.