There’s no denying that all those sci-fi techy dreams in movies, books, and artwork are steadily becoming the future. While flying cars are probably still far off and hover boards are still a fiery mess, things are looking promising. Especially in the smart home arena, where smart tech and convenience collide to ensure comfort reigns supreme.
Here’s a look at some of the top trends in smart home technology right now. It should serve as a good indication of where things are headed in the future too! Will these smart gadgets all be as commonplace as ovens and TV’s in homes ten years from now? The likely answer is yes.
Building an Ecosystem
Having a smart home isn’t as simple as throwing a few products together and calling it “smart”. It’s about building a whole ecosystem that works together to provide a seamlessly integrated experience. And one that is built around the needs of the people living there.
The whole ecosystem is currently supported by the smart home hub. People tend to shop around for the hub they like best, then look for gadgets that will connect to that for an integrated experience. They want to be able to say “Hey Google” and then command their hub to preheat the oven for them.
And that’s where smart home technology really shines, and will continue to grow. Not in the jumble of gadgets that add some function on their own, but in the patchwork of devices that work together.
Utility Over Flash
Many IoT devices were created as a gimmick and, while they do add flair to a home, they aren’t all that useful. Let’s take smart color bulbs, for instance. It can be fun to change up the colors in a room, but at the end of the day this doesn’t actually change anyone’s life in a meaningful way. Gadgets like that will undoubtedly never go away, but people are starting to buy more conservatively by thinking: “How does this actually help?”
Something like a smart coffee machine, that can be told to start making someone’s favorite cuppa when they wake up is very useful. The same goes for a smart lock, which can be accessed remotely to let in guests or maintenance, and it let’s people see who comes and goes.
These devices don’t just intuitively fit into people’s lives, they also bring an extra dimension of time-saving, safety, and convenience. Those are the qualities that will ensure they stick around.
A Green House
With everything that’s going on in the world today – floods, a burning sea, and even fire tornadoes – being environmentally conscious is more important than ever. People are taking this focus to their homes, where they’re adopting new devices and habits to fit this change in lifestyle.
Let’s take smart sprinklers, for example, which are becoming more commonplace today. These aren’t just a trendy new way to make sure the lawn stays green with minimal work, they’re also great for the environment. While smart sprinklers still use up water to keep the garden hydrated, they do ensure that nothing goes to waste.
That’s where truly smart meets truly good (for the ecosystem).
Smart Cost Saving
Along with being eco-friendly, many smart devices also have the added benefit of saving on water and energy costs. They’re a frugal planner’s dream.
This is likely one of the reasons why smart home thermostats are some of the first IoT devices anyone buys for their home. It’s not just their convenience that makes them popular, but their ability to save a ton of money too. By regulating the temperature in every room and using less energy when people aren’t there, smart thermostats save on both heating and air conditioning costs.
Devices that can monitor energy/water usage and optimize their output to be as efficient as possible are gaining ground in a big way.
With the addition of all these internet-connected devices into the home, security is a bigger concern than ever. There have been too many smart device horror stories already, and it can turn into an incredibly dangerous situation. Imagine if a hacker gets access to the home thermostat or, even worse, the smart tap in the shower?
To deal with this, many people are looking at VPNs to encrypt their home network and ensure strangers don’t get access to their devices. Some people are even going as far as to set up their own closed virtual private network to keep the system contained. But that’s complicated and expensive. So most just opt for a regular VPN instead, which works just as well.
Smart homes are here now and they’re definitely a part of the future. The trends that exist today are a glimpse at what type of smart homes and devices people are looking for. These trends will likely solidify into the core tenets of smart home building as people identify with the principles that fit into their lives.