From smartphones to smart watches to smart cars, technology is transforming nearly every aspect of our lives. Not only are new technologies providing convenience, they are also becoming more accessible. The smart home is one example. The global smart homes will continue to grow on the back of energy conservation, technological advancements for better safety and security and regulatory initiatives by governments. The introduction of smart grids, increased personal income in developing economies and growth of the consumer electronics industry will also favourably impact market growth.
The smart home is not an entirely new phenomenon. Home automation technologies, for instance, have been around for several years as a niche segment focused on security and utility management. However, it is likely that the smart home of the future will contain 15 to 30 connected devices and sensors, all linked via a home area network. This is driving a shift towards connected technologies, with the trend changing to platforms and systems that enable real-time control for a broad variety of devices and equipment in the home through apps via smartphones, tablets or in-house displays.
Imagine a scenario where you can connect home appliances like your washing machine, dishwasher or air conditioning to a Home Energy Network. The next time you come home, your laundry would have been done and your dishes cleaned and ready for use. You can find your home at just the right temperature and the right amount of lighting you like. You do not have to worry about switching off your TV when you leave or making use of low-cost off-peak hours for your high power consumption appliances. All this happens without your intervention.
While this could well be the future of the smart, connected home, there are also several factors that will hinder widespread adoption of smart home technologies.
On one hand there is a high capital cost to connecting the home, on the other, the offerings are still unstructured because of a lack of industry standards and interoperability. The absence of consumer awareness will also be a substantial roadblock. Importantly, the smart home must be seen in a broader context than just within the home space. Platforms should be able to connect the home from various other locations, such as office, shopping malls or cars. The home network and all the data within it must be immune from hacking and other security threats.
Despite all this, there is little doubt that this transformation will change our lifestyle.
I invite you to comment on what you think will be the biggest threats to smart homes as the industry develops and tests several platforms to connect the home.