There’s no doubt about it. 2017 has not been the year of the smart home. But the future of IoT is huge, and the smart home is undoubtedly one segment that will grow fastest in 2018.
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Smart home products are making their way into every part of our lives. In 2017, we saw an explosion of smart products for the home at every life stage. From robots that read kids bedtime stories to devices that feed your cat and play with your dog, there’s a smart product out there for everything.
Thanks to IoT, the days when you can leave your home without a worry are not far.
We have heard for many years that truly intelligent homes are coming and that they will transform our daily lives. Industry experts predict the typical intelligent home could contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022.
One of the reasons to acquire smart home appliances or install smart meters in the home is the promise of saving energy. Another key reason is because smart homes will be a key component in the healthcare system; the elderly population will greatly benefit from smart homes.
The technology while important, it is only as an enabler. Nowadays, the complexity of installing devices and software from smart home vendors requires the expertise of super installers.
Artificial intelligence will be critical in the future smart home, a learning ecosystem that will get insight from personal and home devices. This insight will reveal patterns of behavior of family members’ movements. Our daily life will be transformed in a whole new way.
Most of the big technology players are working on their own voice assistants. In 2018, companies like Amazon and Google will be fighting to lock you into one voice ecosystem for your smart home. Before the year is up, you may have to declare your allegiance for Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant.
To realize the future of smart home, it will be critical that smart home ecosystem collaborate to adapt to the changing needs and priorities of consumers. The smart home industry must work hard the make devices reliable. At the end of the day, people crave convenience, and the main appeal of smart products is to make lives simpler. If devices cannot consistently achieve this for their owner, they will not be of use to them.
In order for the smart home to reach critical mass, separate devices need to get better at communicating. So in 2017, companies began to understand that their products, no matter how cool, couldn’t exist in a bubble by themselves. As a result, we began to see interconnection in the smart home move forward, and in 2018 this is only expected to grow.
Cyberattacks have become a true headache for the IoT industry, as each connected device is a potential security breach. Smart homes are not immune from attacks, so manufacturers of home automation devices must pay a lot of attention to security issues and to ways of increasing the safety and protection of the user’s data.
Ransomware is getting more sophisticated, and there have already been examples of smart thermostat hacking. Obviously, if a thermostat can be compromised, what can stop the hackers from getting into a smart door lock or window sensor? Only a set of security measures matching the skill and toolset of the attackers, of course.
We already have smart doorbells and smart thermostats, but what about making other parts of our homes smart? With this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), homeowners and tech enthusiasts alike are antsy about what 2018 has in store for smart homes. It’s pretty clear that this year’s CES is going to be smart home-heavy. At CES 2018, many companies will be announcing new fashion devices, integration with voice assistants, robots, smart appliances and face recognition — but importantly, almost everything they will be showcasing involves interoperability and integration. It’s likely that CES will demonstrate how Google and Amazon make Alexa and Assistant work with as many devices as possible. Amazon has already shown off its own home access platform for deliveries, so why not widen that to third-party hardware? And since it’s a neck-and-neck race between these two companies, expect Google to follow suit, letting you open your front door simply by speaking. Not to mention all of the see-through fridges, connected crockpots and smart bathroom facilities that are likely to be on display.
Other predictions for 2018 in the smart home arena include that we’ll see the first IoT-enabled pest control products. We’ll also see the first robotic IoT-enabled vacuums released that have cameras and are connected to identify objects such as Legos and store them to prevent them from being stepped on.
If you’ve been in the smart home market for the past 15 years, you know the business is quirky and dynamic. Until recently, it seemed that the smart home was only available to a few. But now we are beginning to see the horizon clearer and can dream that in the not too distant future we can all have a smart home.
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