CALGARY, Alta. Nov. 2, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Most of us have seen movies set in the “future” in which people are able to control everything in their homes via voice command or remote control. Want to turn on the lights? Just say “Lights on,” and suddenly everything is illuminated. Want to turn on some music and turn down the air conditioner? Press a few buttons on a remote control and everything happens – without even having to get up from the couch.
While much of this technology seemed limited to “futuristic” homes, and something to look forward to someday down the road, much of this smart home technology is actually available today. Most new home construction includes at least a few smart home features built in, while older homes are quickly catching up thanks to connected gadgets.
And while it may seem like everything is connected these days (and practically everything is) there are a few trends emerging within smart home technology. These trends will undoubtedly influence everything from product development to how homes are built, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them.
- Home security
Home security is perhaps the area in which smart technology is making the most difference. It’s easier than ever to install security cameras and other features, such as smoke detectors, sprinkler systems,
and automatic door locks that offer remote access. With this technology, you can not only monitor your home from afar but also control access to your home with just a few taps of an app. Forget to lock the door when you left in the morning? Just enter a code on your smartphone and the doors lock and the alarm is set.
However, taking security a step further, many homeowners are looking into ways to install their own virtual private networks. With so many devices in the home connected to the internet – not to mention a home security system – the potential for hackers to gain access to an unsecured network is substantial, and could lead to theft and other issues. Many newer homes are being built with wireless devices built in and connected to a private or closed network, adding another layer of security.
- Smart lighting
Do you flip a switch to turn on the lights? Push a button to turn on the lamp? Thanks to new technology, the days of actually having to turn on lights that way are numbered. New lighting options designed with [popup url=”http://www.microchip.com/design-centers/8-bit/peripherals/core-independent/programmable-switch-mode-controller-psmc” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]bit switch technology[/popup] and other features can now be controlled from your smartphone or tablet or touchscreen panel on the wall, and even an automated system. For example, with an app you can set the time and level of brightness to awaken you gently, or set the lights to turn on and off at set intervals when you will not be home (especially useful if on vacation and want to appear like you’re at home). If you have a NEST smart thermostat, you can even coordinate your lighting with the heating and cooling in your home, to ensure the perfect temperature and illumination when you need it. Expect this lighting technology to become the standard rather than the exception very soon, especially as the tech becomes more inexpensive.
- Energy efficiency
Energy-efficient homes are trendier than ever, and it only makes sense that smart home technology will soon be focused on making our homes as efficient as possible. There is already technology that can tell consumers [popup url=”https://powerhousedynamics.com/industries/sitesage-for-homes/” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]how much energy they are using[/popup] and when, and how much that energy costs, as well as provide information about the efficiency of appliances, with updates when something needs to be serviced or replaced. Combined with programmable thermostats that can be remotely adjusted and controlled, smart lighting, and smart appliances, it is going to become easier than ever – and expected – to have energy-efficient homes.
- Centralized entertainment
At the most recent [popup url=”https://www.cnet.com/pictures/size-matters-the-biggest-booths-of-ces-2016/” height=”1000″ width=”1200″ scrollbars=”1″]Consumer Electronics Show[/popup], televisions remained the biggest draw, with companies showing off more TVs than anything else. Yet no matter what type of TV set one uses, there is now an expectation that it will be connected, allowing for access to multiple types of content, from streaming movies to music and more. We are already seeing some developments in this area with gadgets like Apple TV and Roku (with some TVs featuring it built in), but expect to see even more tools for streamlining access to entertainment and offering additional options.
- Robot technology
Robot technology isn’t necessarily new – gadgets like the Roomba vacuum robot have been around for quite some time – but robots are becoming more advanced, and it’s likely that we will see “household robots” within the next decade or two. In fact, researchers in Germany have created a prototype robot that has the ability to perform simple chores (like serving drinks and picking items up from the floor) and respond to voice commands and gestures as well as touchscreen instructions. We may not be able to sit back and let the robots do the chores yet, but that day is coming.
Smart home technology will undoubtedly continue to improve in the coming years, and eventually, it’s possible that just about everything will be connected to the internet and be controlled by voice or touchscreen. The only question, then, is how will you fill your time with so much being automated?
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