Where Is Smart Home Technology Going?
The proliferation of smart home technology over the past few years has led to some interesting developments. Smart home technology offers homeowners control over various parts of their household using automation and other forms of technology. “The devices used to create a “smart home” make typically active homeowner tasks passive, freeing up the homeowner to do what they are really passionate about”, Saar Pilosof, investor in the smart home industry. “Time is money, and these time-saving devices prove that through their popularity. Here are a few smart home trends to keep an eye on during the year”.
Alexa and Other Smart Assistants
Amazon’s Alexa equipped Echo and Google’s Home currently have the bulk of the market share for smart assistants, but other companies, seeing their successes, are starting to develop technologies to get an edge in the market. Lenovo is currently developing a smart assistant, due to be released in May 2017 that offers better quality audio. Amazon’s Alexa platform is also being integrated into other devices, including smart TV remotes, washing machines, ovens, and vacuum cleaners. It appears that the Alexa platform will be more successful than its Google counterpart, so for a totally integrated home, make sure to choose an Amazon Echo instead of the Google Home.
In complete disregard to the warning put forth in Isaac Asimov’s I-Robot, developers continue to push research in robotic helpers in the home. One standout from the consumer electronics show this year was the Moro Ewaybot, a $30,000 robot that claims to be able to assist in both detail oriented tasks and tasks involving brute force. With a price tag like that, it will be a while before the Moro is consumer accessible. A more feasible home assistant with a better budget friendly price would be the Kurihome robot, which is more like a friend than an assistant. Kurihas an emotive face, quickly learns the layout of your household, and can be integrated with If This Then That, a smartphone app that allows you to create equations to keep your smart house operating just the way you want it to.
A lot of the smart technology being released for homes now center around the kitchen. One of the biggest areas for development right now revolves around refrigerator interfaces. Take the LG Smart Instaview Refrigerator, for example. This new competitor to the Samsung Family Hub is Alexa enabled (Alexa being the apparent overarching trend for all new smart home technology) and allows you to order groceries, listen to music, and watch your food via the interior cameras. The most exciting feature, however, is the ability to see, through the 29-inch touch screen, the contents of your refrigerator without wasting energy by opening the door. Aside from refrigerators, the humble trash can is also getting an upgrade from Simplehuman. Their smart trash can will open the lid when you tell it to, and will eventually come with the ability to track how many trash bags you have used, and use Amazon Dash to order more automatically.
As technology continues to evolve, we can be sure to see all sorts of areas in our homes, that we never thought could be improved, become technologically advanced.