How the Internet of Things Can Shape the Future of Home Automation
Ever wondered what it would be like to have a home that answers all your needs – that wakes you up in the morning with the sweet aroma of coffee, plays your favorite music exactly when you need it, changes the mood of a room to suit your activities, and protects your belongings when you are away?
This is not science fiction anymore! Although home automation systems have been on the market for a while, thanks to the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT), the possibilities are now endless.
So, what can we really expect?
For those who don’t know, the term “Internet of Things” indicates all those technologies that make possible to connect a device or machine to the Internet. These systems work by collecting data and then using it to monitor, control, and transfer information – activating certain actions whenever specific conditions occur. For example, if your refrigerator “notices” that you are running out of milk and ordering some without you having to take manual action.
In simple terms, the Internet of Things makes it possible to have intelligent, everyday products simplify our life by adding a touch of magic to it – and that includes our homes.
How? Let’s take a look.
Smart Home and IoT
Let’s imagine you could control your entire house through voice command – or remotely with an app. Most home automation systems already allow you to do this; but what if you didn’t even have to? What if your home already knew what to do? This is where the Internet of Things comes in.
Let’s look at a few examples.
LIGHTS – Have your smart home turn your lights ON/OFF or regulate their intensity based on your needs. Imagine setting up a home cinema: you choose a movie and have your TV communicate your choice to your lightning system, which would then dim the lights accordingly. For example, you might like suffused lights for a romantic comedy… but could never watch a horror movie with the lights off!
MUSIC – Are you the kind of person who likes to pump themselves up in the morning with Kanye, but would love to saunter home after the gym to the Triumphal March from Aida? (Who knows? We are not judging.) Whatever your mood, your smart home can play a bespoke playlist to match it. You could even pair it with a wearable device and have music play based on your heartbeat.
DOORS AND GATES – Imagine pairing your smart home with a wearable device that allows the system to recognise you as the homeowner, and open every door for you as soon as you are standing in front of them. Open sesame!
HOME APPLIANCES – Control all sockets in your house to turn specific appliances on and off. Will you be home from work in 2 hours? You could turn your slow cooker on while you are still at work. Your dinner will be ready for you once you are back.
CURTAINS, SHUTTERS, AND WINDOWS – Let your smart home raise or lower the blinds based on your needs. Having some quality home cinema time? Curtains should be closed. Feeling groggy in the morning? Your alarm could tell your smart home to open your shutters as it goes off.
THERMOSTAT AND AIR-CONDITIONING – Feeling too warm or too cold? Maybe you are ready to exercise and need the temperature lowered accordingly? In that case, you might only need to turn – let’s say – your treadmill on, and your smart home would know to adjust the temperature accordingly. This could come in handy whenever you turn your shower on as well.
SCENARIOS – This is one of the most fascinating possibilities. As we saw with the home cinema case, thanks to IoT technology, your smart home can recall custom scenarios that involve multiple actions. Enjoying some video game time by playing Skyrim on your PS4? You might like certain lights off and – let’s say – the smell of pines in the air, to enhance the atmosphere.
GARDEN – Easily activate or deactivate the garden irrigation system. IoT technology could use sensors to find out whether your soil is too dry and in need of some watering, and automatically activate the irrigation system for you.
PROTECTION ANTI-INTRUSION – Last but not least, keep your house always protected and remain in control by switching on and off alarm zones. Imagine Home Alone… but it’s your smart home that protects itself. Handy.
According to IDC research, “Smart Home investments by consumers will more than double over the forecast period, reaching more than $63 billion by 2020” – which will make possible more and more customisations.
On the other hand, the market for IoT-driven devices will reach a market cap of $195 billion in 2023, according to analysts at ReportsnReports – and the market cap was only $16 billion in 2016, when over 6.4 billion IoT devices were ‘connected’!
These are only some of the possibilities. We can only wait and see what these technologies will bring in the next few years.