What's Next For Home Automation?
Despite being relatively new, smart home products are flying off the shelves. According to a YouGov survey, almost 25% of British households owned at least one piece of smart home technology in 2018 - and that’s only set to rise. Indeed, it seems that smart is here to stay, with early forecasts predicting that a whopping 90% of homes will have some form of smart system in them by 2040.
That’s a lot of new smart homeowners, but more consumers won’t be the only change to home automation systems coming up in the next few years. All the developers of smart home products - from tech giants like Google and Apple to the creators of bespoke smart home furnishings - are always hard at work trying to break new ground in home automation.
In this blog, we’ll be peeking into some R&D studios to find out what upcoming advances in smart home technology we can look forward to. We’ll explore all sorts of changes, from minor tweaks that you can expect to see in the next few years all the way up to space-age robots that won’t be in our homes for a few decades. So, without further ado, let’s see what future smart homes might look like!
One of the biggest challenges we all face in the next few decades is solving climate change. Smart home products might not be the headliners of the new green revolution, but they may have a big part to play in reducing carbon emissions and adapting our lives to weirder weather patterns.
One way home automation systems can already help cut carbon is by reducing our energy output. Through the use of 24/7 heating schedules, Smart thermometers give you exact control over how hot your home gets and when. Smart plugs and switches work the same way, letting you cut off the power manually to stop your appliances sucking up power when they’re not being used. In future smart homes, these devices will become even smarter, harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise their efficiency. This particular technology is right around the corner. For example, Google’s Nest Thermostat can already tweak its settings automatically to save on energy usage.
These smart home products won’t just help us cut carbon - they can also help to stop home solar power systems from being overloaded. Right now, commercial solar panels are still quite expensive, but expect that to change. As costs go down and effectiveness of these panels go up, solar roofs are expected to take over gas and mains electrics as the power centre of your smart home.
Smart home hospital
As well as climate change, another future trend we’ll have to adapt to is an ageing population. By the 2040s, the UK government anticipates the number of people aged 85 or over will double to 3 million. That’s a big increase in elderly people who may need care but, with the help of future smart homes, we’ll be able to automate some of this work.
There are already many smart health gadgets available, with brands like Fitbit helping us track our fitness levels while we exercise. The same technology that we use today will become more advanced in the future. Home automation systems in the years to come will be able to use remote heartbeat monitors, oximeters and other sensors to monitor the condition of people with serious long-term illnesses, such as chronic pulmonary obstruction disease (CPOD). Some companies are even developing systems that sit in your toilet. When you relieve yourself, these sensors could analyse your urine and feces for the warning signs of certain cancers - it’s certainly one way to save lives!
Beyond furitstic sensors, there are other ways home automation systems can help the elderly. As the voice assistant programs found in smart home products like the Amazon Echo Dot become more sophisticated, they’ll be able to issue reminders and helpful guides to people suffering from dementia. These programs will be able to autonomously guide people through simple activities using a combination of audio and video prompts, reducing the need for round-the-clock care.
Robots in your kitchen
Many of us already have at least one automated domestic servant (in the form of robot vacuum cleaners), so the idea of robots doing our household chores isn’t as far-fetched as it sounded 10 or 20 years ago. The motion sensors and servos that allow robots to move are improving all the time, allowing the machines to manipulate objects more easily and precisely.
For instance, computer equipment company Nvidia is already working on the ‘kitchen manipulator’, an AI-powered robotic kitchen assistant for your home. Using a combination of small cameras and AI image recognition to detect objects like ingredients, dirty dishes and kitchen cupboards, this piece of smart home technology could help users of the future with common kitchen tasks like meal prep and washing up. It could be particularly helpful for busy parents or people with mobility issues. Pretty nifty, right?
The future of entertainment
So far, we’ve looked at the functional future of smart homes - now let’s concentrate on just the fun! Smart home entertainment is set for just as many awesome advances as other types of smart home technology.
Smart speakers are already popular, with many smart homeowners using them as the main way of issuing voice commands as well as playing music. In future smart homes, these smart speakers will become the nucleus of your home entertainment system. They’ll use adaptive algorithms to help you decide what music to listen to and when you want to listen to it. Once these devices have got the hang of your taste, they’ll be able to select your perfect playlist by themselves.
If you’re not controlling your smart home with a smart speaker, you’re probably using a smart TV instead. These gadgets display their smarts with a perfect picture, access to internet-based apps like social media websites and popular streaming services, and built-in microphones for voice assistants. These televisions are already called flatscreens, but they’re set to get even more two-dimensional in the future! Leading TV brands like Sony, LG and Samsung are experimenting with roll-up televisions that unfurl from their roll like projection screens, and television screens that are built into the walls of your home. It’s also likely that VR headsets will become more integrated into the smart home ecosystem too, allowing us to watch movies and interact with our homes in a whole new way!
Plus, as smart home technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, our ability to switch off will become even more important. In future smart homes, it’s quite likely that we’ll see special tech-free rooms created, with special linings built into the walls that prevent digital signals entering or exiting. Your bedroom furniture could even be completely walled off from technology, allowing you to unwind in peace.
And so concludes our tour of the future! It’s time to travel back to the present of smart homes for a moment, as we wouldn’t want you to miss out on all the amazing products you can purchase right now. Keep your smart home safe with smart security and safety or modernise your kitchen with smart appliances - you can even use home automation to care for your pets when you buy smart pet supplies at OnBuy!
In addition to our fantastic selection of state-of-the-art products, we also have a set of buyer’s guides and blogs dedicated to smart homes, just like this one is. If you’ve never bought smart home products before, we recommend checking out our guide to making your home smart. Packed with in-depth information to walk you through why you should invest in smart home systems and how, this is the ultimate guide to kickstart your smart journey. And, if the rumour mill has left you feeling more cautious than compelled to try out smart systems, we’ve even debunked some of the most common myths to put your mind at ease. With all that being said, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore the future of technology, today!