Having a home like Tony Stark in Iron Man is becoming a reality with some of the latest home technology coming onto the market. The ability to have devices hold conversations, turn on lights, and close window shades are now available for homeowners. Taking a look at current trends in smart home technology, it will be up to consumers to decide which of these convinces they want in their homes.
Regardless of which devices gain popularity, the smart home tech market as a whole is growing at a breakneck pace. Experts predict the home tech market to double or triple in the next 5 years.
Significant advances in AI and Machine Learning technology are bringing a whole new line of products to market. These new products are offered at a price point that most homeowners are willing to invest in upgraded tech. With the introduction of devices like Amazon Echo, consumers have become used to having these technologies in their homes. After the groundwork laid in recent years, more and more people have grown comfortable with smart home technology. The low price point and consumer acceptance have the market primed for the anticipated growth.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the latest smart home trends.
Aside from asking Alexa about the weather, game scores, or the number one request, “Alexa, tell me a joke. Most consumers are not using the voice feature to make orders or place phone calls. Instead, they are using them to make requests or commands. Listening to music, getting the weather forecast, asking funny questions, and setting alarms are currently the top uses. The remaining capabilities are used less than 50% of the time, which is expected to change now that your voice-controlled speaker can be used as a control center for your home.
With an estimated 100 million smart speakers in homes around the world, there is now a substantial infrastructure established to build a network of intelligent devices. In the US, an estimated 50% of all households have at least one smart speaker. Many of today’s smart devices can be connected and controlled with a smart speaker system like Amazons Alexa or Google’s Home.
Research suggests that 25 to 35% of consumers either currently own or are interested in purchasing smart speakers and watches. They far surpass other tech devices like security systems, carbon dioxide monitors, smart thermostats, smart lighting, and outlets. While the latest smart kitchen appliances show minimal interest, but that will likely change in the future.
Most homeowners can not find enough hours in a day to do all the menial tasks around the house. Fortunately, today’s smart home automation performs many of those monotonous tasks without any effort form the homeowner. Tasks like opening blinds, making coffee, vacuuming the home, or turning on lights.
Just image the alarm goes off, the blinds open partway all while you are still in bed. Before you make it out of your bedroom, the smart coffee maker has brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and the smart toaster has toasted your morning bagel.
Speaking of smart toasters, you can expect the home tech market to focus on creating more smart kitchen appliances. Kitchens have not kept up with other smart home technology. Wi-Fi connected kitchen appliances are just starting to hit the market like ovens and fridges. While the previous intelligent kitchen appliances have been limited to only monitoring and controlling. The newest appliances are now allowing remote activation and control making it easier to monitor and start cooking remotely.
One example is the Yummly-powered smart cooking technology offered by Whirlpool. Yummly is offered on a wide range of Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The technology uses voice commands to helps the homeowner find a recipe based on the ingredients on hand, download video tutorials to walk them through the recipe. The built-in oven offered by Whirlpool is their Connected Hub Wall Oven. This oven has an interactive LCD interface that replaces the standard glass door.
Family Hub refrigerator, by Samsung, is the latest generation of refrigerators. The refrigerator uses an AI-enhanced LCD screen that displays information, gone are the days of the refrigerator notepad. They also built in a digital assistant, Bixby, that is capable of delivering tailored information to each family member by using voice ID technology.
Smart Surface Areas
GHSP is introducing a Smart Backsplash. GHSP is a supplier of premium appliances, and its new backsplash is quite innovative. The backsplash is an edge-to-edge touchscreen allowing homeowners to call up cooking controls, search for recipes online, play music, and much more from just about anywhere in the kitchen. When not in use, the backsplash can display an image, much like a digital picture frame.
Smart Lighting for Better Sleep
Smart lighting is becoming one of the most significant segments of the home tech market. Until now, most smart lighting manufactures have focused on lights that can turn on/off or mood lighting. Today the emphasis is shifting to manage your circadian rhythms. When the lights tie into your smart hub, they will make lighting adjustments throughout the evening. This minimizes the homeowners’ exposure to artificial light and messing up your circadian rhythm. In turn, you will get a much better night to sleep and feel rested in the morning.
Artificial Intelligence Advancing Home Cameras
WiFi-enabled cameras have been around for a while. Unfortunately, their performance has not been the best. They tend to have a lot of false alarms when a bird flys by or a squirrel ventures into the yards. With the incorporation of artificial Intelligence, no more false alarms. By using “smart imagining,” the system can distinguish humans from other irrelevant movements coming from cars, animals, and other objects. Some systems can identify individuals, thus having the capability of identifying a home’s residents from potential intruders.
Deep Sentinel, offers an AI-enhanced camera system that combines AI imaging that is monitored by a live video surveillance team. They can communicate with unidentified individuals through the camera’s built-in two-way audio communication. If a break-in occurs, they will notify the local police.
Cameras are finding uses beyond security. WLabs has placed cameras inside of countertop ovens. The cameras can be used to identify food and set appropriate cooking times. At this time, it is just in the testing phases, but it will not be long before this technology finds its way into full-size ovens at a local retailer.
Home Builders are Building Smart Homes
Several national builders are teaming up with tech giants to add smart technology in new home builds. Lennar Homes teamed up with Amazon to start offering Amazon Echo and Dot in all their homes as the control center for a wide range of smart home devices. While KB Homes teamed up with Google to offer Google’s Home and Home Mini Speaker as the control center for all the home devices they are offering.
Building a home with smart technology in the home’s original design will be the trend for new homes in the future. Many of the latest home tech devices require no installation beyond plugging it in and connecting it to your Wi-FI. Others require wiring and some major remodeling to install in an existing home. But installation into new construction typically requires little, if any, additional work or cost (beyond the expense of the devices) over building a nonsmart home.
The demand for home tech and home automation is rapidly growing with consumers. The combination of a steady stream of new products and devices at extremely affordable prices is attracting more interest from consumers. There will be a lot more growth in this market over the next decade or so.