Home automation. Those words do not merely encompass the crazy, futuristic capabilities of some of the amazing inventions coming down the road in 2017. According to CNET, “2017 is going to be a big year for smart homes.” And frankly, it’s difficult to disagree with them.
Anyone strolling the aisles of a home improvement store can tell you that technology is sneaking its way into every area of the home. Smart devices do more in your home beyond simply controlling your thermostat. Even a stroll down the electrical outlet aisle won’t disappoint when it comes to technology. Now, you can find new technologies streaming through almost every device in the home.
What does this mean for home automation in the coming year? Let’s check out the trends.
This year’s CES certainly made one trend abundantly clear. Interconnectivity in every part of the home is within our grasp. The prominence of Amazon’s Alexa and the presence of “her” on so many devices available for the home made it glaringly obvious that we are on the threshold of seeing devices work together. No, we don’t yet need Neo to save us from the machines and their ability to band together (the red pill or the blue pill?). But, you will no longer need different remotes littered throughout your home.
Instead of using your phone for music, a remote for your TV, and a code to lock your doors, you can control everything through one central device. With smart devices utilizing applications like Alexa, you can connect your devices and control them simultaneously. And it doesn’t stop there. You don’t have to worry about finding the right button on your device. Just tell your Alexa hub what you want, and like a well-behaving genie with a double-wink of the eyes and a nod of the head, your wish is her command.
Speaking of your personal genie, she can also help manage your security system. ADT Pulse(R) will soon be offering integration with Alexa to give your more options for helping to protect your home.
These devices that are home to Alexa are currently referred to as a hub, the latest buzzword for this technology. One hub device that Alexa operates on is the Amazon Echo. These devices are the hot new trend as they work to interconnect all of your digital devices into one smart home.
With continued innovations in the world of robotics, you will likely see robots in the home. Although we aren’t necessarily seeing sentient robotic beings taking over the world,, we are definitely seeing the development of robotic helpers take hold. Their integration into the home is the next logical step.
Recently, robots have taken a leap forward and are paving the way for in-home use. Many robots designed for the use of everyday consumers have made their debuts this year. “Domestic” robots are devices that look familiar to all you diehard Sci-Fi fans. These devices can perform a variety of chores and other tasks, including:
With innovations in the field of robotics increasing each day, this list will continue to grow and awe.
Most major appliance manufacturers have also jumped on board with smart appliances. From Wi-Fi ovens to smart refrigerators, kitchens are on the verge of simplifying how you eat and manage your food. The big players in the appliance market are all joining the the smart home trend. Many smart refrigerators have features that include:
In addition, you can access Wi-Fi ovens from anywhere and preheat to an appropriate temperature before you set foot in your home.
A robotic cooker is even available. This device can perform simple functions like scrambling eggs, reducing the amount of scrambling (yeah, I went there) you’ll have to do to keep up with dinner. Even further, it seems the smart can be extended to just about any device. Range is a digital thermometer that can be plugged into a smartphone to access necessary graphs and other pertinent cooking information.
The Pantelligent is a smart pan that connects to the internet, accessing the necessary ingredients and instructions for preparing recipes. The pan simultaneously monitors temperature and timing, telling you when to flip meat or add ingredients. The CrockPot WeMo is fully equipped with everything you need to make the perfect slow cooker meal without being home. The Mellow is a remote cooking machine that will store food at an appropriate temperature in a sealed bag and steam or cook when indicated so that your meal is ready when you arrive home.
Make your meal without even being home. Sounds ridiculous, but then again, so does having your coffee ready for you when you come downstairs. Oh yeah, Smarter Coffee will do that for you. Freshly brewed and waiting just as you come into the kitchen. Long day at work? You don’t even have to make your own cocktail. The Somabar will mix the perfect cocktail for you.
These items barely scratch the surface of what is available to complete a fully functioning smart kitchen. The possibilities are endless.
Not to be confused with a remote control for your home (remotes will soon be obsolete with voice commands; more on that below), we’re talking about gaining a level of control over your home when you aren’t there. With smart devices, you can make changes within your home from anywhere. Often, this is accomplished by easily downloadable apps that give you a variety of features and connect with your devices at home.
Most of us don’t like thinking of ourselves as predictable. We are fun, spontaneous, and NO, we don’t turn the heat to the same temperature each night when we predictably climb into bed at about the same time each night. If you still have doubts as to your predictability factor, just check with your thermostat. Devices like the Nest thermostat actually learn how warm or cold you like it and when you make changes. As a result, it performs those actions for you. Don’t worry, your thermostat won’t judge you.
Other devices will be following suit. As we look ahead to a sustainable future, we will be seeing smart devices that allows us to be more efficient.
For example, let’s say you have smart bulbs in your light fixtures. The hub will recognize that you turn the lights on at 6:25 every morning and it will start to do that for you. But, you don’t like the lights all the way up, and it knows that too, only turning them halfway on. The hub will also recognize that you like the heat turned up five minutes before that and that you prefer the carpets vacuumed 15 minutes later, after you have already left the house. Speaking of leaving the house, it will also send you a reminder on your smartphone to pick up milk.
Say goodbye to those introspective moments in the car minutes after you leave home, wondering: Did I leave the lights on?
Using our voice to control a phone is no surprise. Five years ago, people would suspect the Twilight Zone was at work if they heard a phone responding to “Hey Siri.” Now, getting a realistic reply to “How long does it take to get to the airport?” no longer elicits a shock reaction. Onlookers no longer wonder, Who is that person talking to? Those days are long gone.
We no longer bat an eyelash at voice technology. So, it should come as no surprise that voice technology is making its way into the home. As technologies like Alexa become more and more prominent, we will see, or rather- hear, voice technology responding to our beck and call in our homes. Ordering pizza, preheating the oven, and adjusting the heat with voice commands will become more commonplace.
According to Cleverism, “Security is a major focus of smart home systems.” We have discussed how smart homes give you more control over your home. But, with integrated security systems, you really get more control over your home. We know that smart homes allow us to operate things that are inside our home, but what about those that are the most precious?
One of the most amazing (and often overlooked) benefits of smart homes is the ability to better protect your loved ones. Imagine being able to look over your family when you aren’t even home. DIY devices like the Ring Doorbell, the Kuri, and the NestCam let you monitor any visitors to your home, whether you are there or not.
As we mentioned previously, hubs like Alexa now have the ability to interconnect with your security system. In a move toward better home protection, ADT Pulse(R) now offers security features that integrate directly with Alexa. As the exclusive Authorized Premier Provider of ADT, we are thrilled to offer integration with Alexa! This exciting new feature lets you automate your security along with the rest of your home. Automating your security system means you can do things like remotely lock your doors, turn on lights to deter break-ins, and arm or disarm your security system, to name a few. You can even ask Alexa to close your garage door!
WooHoo, Invoxia, and Zmodo all come equipped with facial and voice recognition so that they can detect a person’s presence in a room and identify that person.
Home automation has certainly grown leaps and bounds in a short amount of time. Look for these seemingly strange features to become commonplace as we embark on 2017. Most importantly, sleep a little more soundly knowing that your home is more protected, whether you are there or not.