In today’s world, automation of processes holds great value for enterprises. With AI and ML integrated into most operational procedures across business verticals, enterprises are becoming increasingly smarter in the way they function. But this affinity towards automation does not merely exist in a business environment. The idea of the ‘smart home’ has been around since the early ’80s and has been evolving ever since.
We millennial’s dream of a futuristic ‘Jetson’s’ inspired life where human effort is minimized by technology created especially to enhance the quality of life. A dishwasher that not only washes the dishes but also places them in their respective racks in your kitchen, a robot assistant to take care of your infant or your family’s elderly, home appliances that know when you are hungry and can prepare and present the perfect meal, without you having to lift a finger- These are some of the fantasies we attach to the idea of a smart home.
While these ideas may seem fanciful, the fact of the matter is that today’s smart homes can learn from the behaviours of the people living in them and can create highly customized living experiences. Add IoT home automation capabilities to the equation, and the result is something out of a sci-fi flick. Technology has finally caught up with our imagination, and the Smart home may soon become commonplace given that IIOT is a business driven landscape.
In this article, I have touched upon how IoT home automation can render our smart home day-dreams in the real-world. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
The much-loved ‘clapper’ has come a long way. Mood lighting is an integral part of a luxurious living experience. With Smart lighting, setting the mood is now just a matter of a few clicks on your phone. From turning lights on and off to changing their brightness and intensity to changing their color through IoT technology housed in the lighting arrangements and controlled by an app on your phone, smart lighting is currently quite the rage as an IoT-based home automation system.
Now let’s talk about what the future holds for smart lighting.
With IoT tech built into your home, the lighting arrangements will be able to respond to your actions. For example, they could dim automatically in response to natural light or when you begin watching a movie on television. To set the right atmosphere, the lights could also sense the movie genre and dim/brighten/change color in accordance with what is happening on-screen (similar to 4D movie screens but on a smaller and more customizable level.)
2. Home access
With an increasing need for security in modern society, doors have also become smart home IoT products. A couple of current examples are the key card locks, fingerprint scanners, and facial recognition. Retinal scanners once mainstays of fictional futures now exist and form part of high-security facilities access methods.
In the near future, a smart door could detect your vehicle driving down the road, conduct a facial recognition check to see if it’s really you, automatically open the garage door for you to park, and unlock the front door so that you can enter. The smart door could also access other IoT devices spread across the homestead, like a coffee maker that starts brewing you a hot cuppa the instant you enter or a simulcast across your home of your favorite evening playlist as you unwind.
If a door can become smart, so can a window. You have already been to places where you can draw your window blinds with a remote device or an app on your phone. But imagine a future where your windows react to input from both the inside and the outside. Metal shutters falling over glass windows to keep an intruder out, customizable opacity of the window for privacy, windows that close when it rains, and windows with smart surfaces that offer customizable magnification of the view outside are just a few of the ways in which IoT can transform our living experience.
4. Temperature control
Controlling the air conditioning of your home through an app on your phone is possible today. But we are here to talk about the future. Imagine a situation in which your house detects your proximity to it and then adjusts the temperature to either your favorite setting or conducts an internal and external temperature check to set the right temperature for you.
IoT-powered temperature control systems could also automatically detect the kind of activity you are involved in, e.g., Sleeping, showering, or exercising, and could adjust your home’s temperature accordingly.
The idea of a ‘smart garden’ may seem far-fetched, but it is a reality in many households. Sprinklers with inbuilt sensors that can detect a person in the garden and stop the water flow so that the person doesn’t get wet have probably already been patented.
In the Future IoT enabled garden appliances could detect the soil’s moisture level and trigger the appropriate response in the irrigation system. Robotic lawnmowers could start up and cut away grass that has grown beyond a pre-defined height. Flowerpots could move around to offer plants protection from or exposure to sunlight according to what the specific plant requires.
6. Smart Home routines
Today it is already possible for most home devices to be connected to our smartphones, offering us the ability to control said devices through apps. But even control requires human input and the idea of a smart home is to intuitively gauge the dweller’s needs and adjust all facets of the living experience accordingly.
We already have smart sockets that automatically turn devices on and off, alarms that sense when you wake up and play music or news according to the homeowner’s preference. Voice assistants have become increasingly common and now sport capabilities that can run entire living routines with voice-controlled lights, access, appliances, etc.
In the future, this ease of living and customization ability will only increase. In the not too distant future, your morning routine could be waking up to your bedroom window’s shutters opening and letting in the morning sunshine. As you step out of your bed, the smell of fresh coffee brewing in your kitchen draws you in. The minute you finish your coffee, your homestead’s AI informs you that a hot bath/shower is ready for you. As you get ready for work, your home stereo plays peppy music of your choice. Once ready to leave your home for work, your door seals behind you, only to allow people of your choice in. Your garage door opens, and your autonomous vehicle rolls out, wishing you a good morning and a safe drive making KITT from Knight Rider feel obsolete. And you begin your day only to come back to the comfort of your meticulously customized IoT-powered smart home.
A different viewpoint
While covering the previous points, you might have felt how excessive such home automation using IoT could be perceived to be. You don’t need a robot to brush your teeth for you. But that would be a myopic view of what a smart home actually offers.
We are in the prime of our lives and can easily perform all the above activities. However, it is not the same for the elderly. We can spring out of bed every morning, but our parents and grandparent would find that a little difficult. Mothers with infants would want to spend all their time with their children instead of having to worry about commuting to work or doing household chores. A smart home can offer these conveniences and can prove to be of great value in delicate situations. Many futuristic IoT trends have already been adopted by us in our daily lives.
The advent of smart appliances and IoT-enabled home devices has ushered in a new generation of infrastructure with the Smart home. It is not too difficult to envisage a future where the homestead can double up as a party pad as well as a fortress at a moment’s notice. Together with edge computing, AI, and ML working in tandem with IoT, our living experience in a smart home is soon to enter a new paradigm of safety, utility, and comfort.