Smart Devices, Smart homes and the problem with multiple automation systems…

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I am still enjoying the recent Gartner publication on the future of smart devices in the home. The article says there will be 500 smart devices in the home by 2022. This makes the reality of home automation that much more critical. The number of interesting home automation projects has gone up on the two sites I monitor (Indiegogo and Kickstarter) roughly 10 fold. Where there were normally 1 –2 per quarter now there are 10 – 20 per quarter.

Of course there are issues with that many new entrants.

  • There are established protocols for home automation (wireless and wired)
  • Wired systems go in homes under construction or complete renovations.
  • Wi-fi systems go in existing homes.

Having a home automation controller allows you to have multiple smart sensors controlled by a single system and therefore available remotely from a single system. Everything from home video surveillance to home water or leak detection is easily added. The Gartner article speaks out the value for the silver generation (aging Americans). Children can engage with their aging parents without having to physically be there. Automation systems can connect to a phone and notify of medical conditions and issues, pills that are or are not taken and the current mental state of the person.

Back in the day we did all of this with X-10. It was an interesting mix of technology and luck (in many cases to keep everything working you had to be lucky). Today that isn’t the case systems work for the most part all the time. Interestingly is the reality of the number of types of sensors that are available.

  • Drive away and forget to close your door? Stop the vacation, turn around and shut the door or connect to your home automation system and shut the door remotely.
  • Forget to turn off the iron? Log in and turn off the wall outlets in that room.
  • fear of water hoses bursting in your laundry room? No problem install a leak sensor.

Add to that the ability to connect to your home and interact with people. That makes the world of aging Americans broader. Parents can stay in the home they want to without issues longer because we can log in and interact and help.

The missing piece in the end is the disparate systems and protocols. It will take a shaking out of home automation companies over the next few years to reduce the risk of too many companies and in the end to learn. I suspect over time a set of sensors will move to gaming systems and another set will over time move directly onto smart TV’s. Today you have to connect to the television – or use Google Cast to connect your device to the television. Eventually I think your smart device will simply pop up and say – there is a bigger screen available do you want to use it? Smart devices are capable of two way communication rather than the sometimes limited one way we have for a lot of devices today.

The future is coming. It can see you – right now!

(didn’t mean that in a scary way)

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow)