Smart Homes and the Evolution of Home Tech
Smart homes might sound like a thing of the future, but with new gadgets like Amazon’s Alexa being released every year, it’s fair to say that that future is now. Home tech has evolved immensely within such a short period of time and has become smarter and more integrated than many of us probably realize. And it’s not all about convenience either! From security-enhanced doorbells to smart thermostats, home tech is also being developed to keep our loved ones and possessions safe.
What are smart homes?
In short, smart homes are ones that contain responsive and integrated technology, which are often connected to and controlled by a central hub. Think HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but without all the violence, of course. Smart actually stands for Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, and includes things like:
Thermostats and heating
Speaker and video systems
Refrigerators and washing machines
Theses devices are often controlled from the same device, such as your smartphone, and so are all connected via the internet. Many of the systems on this list can have their functions controlled remotely while also reporting updates on their status. This can be incredibly useful and even lifesaving in certain circumstances. For example, should there be a fire in your house, your smart thermostat and smoke detectors will send alerts to your phone informing you of the situation. Then, using a smart speaker like Google Home, you can then project an emergency message to everyone in the house to evacuate immediately. When it comes to keeping your family safe during a fire or other emergencies, every second counts.
It’s fair to say that smart technology has boomed recently and is now found in many homes. For some, it might only be a smart meter, but other people are excited by the opportunity to integrate all sorts of smart devices into their homes. The most common smart devices are wireless speakers, remote thermostats, wireless security systems and smart refrigerators. Similarly, smart HVAC systems are becoming more popular, but these are still relatively expensive.
The Future of Smart Homes
Despite all the advancements that have been made in smart home technology, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Improvements to artificial intelligence will eventually allow for positioning technology within your home. By tracking your movement throughout the house, this will allow your smart home to predict your needs without you even saying or doing anything. For example, by simply entering your bathroom or walking down the hall, your smart home will know to turn on the lights. This would also allow for a smart HVAC system to automatically adjust a rooms temperature based upon occupancy. Undoubtedly, this would lead to lower energy consumption and a more eco-friendly house.
Improvements to AI will also allow for better video security systems. Integrated AI can identify and alert the homeowner of suspicious activity taking place on his or her property, allowing for timely action. While it may be expensive to install initially, automating threat detection may prove to be one of the most revolutionary smart tech introduced to the residential market and will forever change the necessary human component of video surveillance.
However, it’s worth also remembering that smart homes do have vulnerabilities. Connecting devices to the internet makes them open to hacking, which can obviously be a big problem. Should there be issues with internet connectivity, it can be easy to lose connection to these devices and alerts will not be sent should a situation arise. Also, converting a home into a smart home is currently an expensive investment and it may be a long time before these devices are used by the general public. Hopefully, advancements made to internet connectivity will help mitigate these risks.
Smart homes and the evolution of home tech has come a long way since the end of the 19th century when Nikola Tesla invented the first remote control. With smart homes becoming more and more prevalent over the next decade, hopefully crimes such as burglary and homicide, as well as accidents like fires and falls, will be greatly reduced. Smart technology as we know it is only just starting to break into the home, and it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves in the future.