The Future of Smart Homes – Connected, Complementary, Conscious – Newsweek
There is no shortage of statistics or research predicting the growth of the smart home — millions of new endpoints have found their way into homes over the past year or two, globally. Consumer desire for these smart devices, spurred by purchases made during the pandemic, will likely continue for the foreseeable future.
As more smart devices enter the home, it’s a good time to reflect on the smart home landscape, especially with the winter months upon us and the potential to curb energy usage. There are two opportunities at play that are particularly timely:
1. Meeting connected consumers where they are to improve lives and capitalize on ripe market opportunities through smart home innovation
2. Rethinking how we can use connected tools and smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be more responsible and sustainable citizens, and do our part in meeting aggressive climate goals
Both are valuable in their own right, and both are also connected in more ways than one.
Interoperability will be the norm
Taking a pulse of the smart home landscape, there are a lot of disparate systems that run on different protocols that share varying types of data. According to McKinsey, despite the proliferation of devices, we’re still far from the vision of seamlessly connected homes.
For the future, and for new systems or solutions, the conversation begins with interoperability — this is where there is so much value still to be realized, and where we’re heading next. Smart devices talking to one another will not be the exception; it will be the norm.
Think beyond smart TVs and home assistants. We’re looking holistically at entertainment, utilities — from temperature to lighting to irrigation to security — and many more touchpoints within the smart home ecosystem.
Small steps will make a big impact
The smart home is moving toward smaller-sized, lower-power, longer-range sensors and IoT devices to track and provide updates when things may look out of the norm, like when there’s a leak, for example. Not everything will require short-range, uninterrupted, high-frequency connectivity — and it means that data in the smart home truly becomes “everywhere.”
We will continue to see solutions that derive benefit from a constant “pulse” of data — small packets of information that move very quickly and amount to a large impact versus high-bandwidth data dumps. Amazon Sidewalk’s smart neighborhoods and Helium’s expanding P2P wireless networks are new innovations built on this principle.
The benefit for consumers and smart homes here is that we can move closer to real-time in terms of how we monitor our homes and connected lives, without the burden and (at times) unreliability of high-bandwidth protocols across thousands of square feet.
Speaking of high bandwidth, we will see technologies that are complementary to LTE and 5G. Connectivity technology that requires higher amounts of energy and power will be reserved for specific applications like video streaming, television and gaming, and enabling remote-first work policies.
5G continues to generate a lot of smart home buzz, but the reality is it’s not ideal for many applications and we’re still a ways off from it being commonplace in the house. So, for many communities, it will be IoT devices that run on these complementary connectivity protocols that will move the needle for impactful smart home innovation.
The connections enabled by these platforms can go through rooms, doors, walls and are seldom impacted by other interference, also enhancing their value over 5G for these use cases.</…….