Connected Homes Might Already Be Smarter Than You Think
Smartwatches, smartphones, smart cars, smart… homes? Connected devices are opening new doors for homes to be better protected, monitored, and networked – potentially ushering in an era for connected homes.
Imagine a house that brings together smart devices and services to help people save time and money. Think thermostats that automatically raise and lower temperature to save heating and cooling costs. Or connected home security systems that potentially help protect residents from break-ins and property theft. There are even applications of smart technology to manage robots to clean pesky messes around the house.
How is technology leading the places where we live to be even smarter? In this blog post, we look into a few important uses of smart technology in today’s connected homes.
Cameras, Alarm Systems, and Locks – The Rise of Connected Home Security
New security technologies are assisting home owners in keeping their residences safe and sound. These devices – which use a central “hub” to communicate through one or more wireless protocols – form a system that can provide around-the-clock security monitoring with low latency and high compute. This enables connected home security systems to react contextually to real-time threats, and help ensure protection even when a home owner is away.
Simple security systems might make due with a few smart sensors placed on doors and windows, along with motion detectors. More advanced methods could use video door bells, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, flood lights, warning sirens, and more. To control this ecosystem of devices, a user can typically use either a wall-mounted panel or smartphone app that communicates with the “hub”. With their phone acting as a command center, a home owner can perform a variety of functions such as:
- Arm or disarm the system
- View live or recorded surveillance video
- Receive push notifications for alarm triggers
- Lock or unlock doors
Rules can be customized to trigger these devices to take certain actions based on different situations. For example, a complex rule could be created where outdoor motion detected at night could trigger flood lights, sirens, and surveillance cameras. This surveillance video could either be stored in the cloud or locally on an SD card, a cost-effective technique for people building their home security systems from the ground up.
Connected Devices Create Smarter Home Entertainment Systems
“Hey _____ , what’s the weather like today?” You can fill in the blank with a handful of names for virtual assistants from some of the largest tech companies in the world. Far from just a fancy display to see the weather forecast or listen to music, however, smart speakers provide a central way for people to upgrade their home entertainment systems. In fact, the smart speaker market is in a strong growth phase. To put that into perspective, in 2017, the industry saw revenues of $4.4 billion USD1. By 2022, that number is expected to jump nearly 400% to an estimated 17 billion USD1.
Smart speakers are hands-free, which is probably their biggest advantage. A person can use their voice to control their home TV – searching and playing movies and TV shows, changing channels, and so much more. Arranging a smart speaker with a voice-enabled sound bar and additional audio channels can even create 360-degree, immersive surround sound. Think of watching intense action movies that make your heart race and thrilling sports events that make you feel like you’re in a rowdy crowd.
Not to be forgotten is the role of connected technology in set-top boxes. Also known as “cable boxes”, these devices takes digital television signals and transform them onto a TV display as movies and TV shows that people know and enjoy. For those who use cable, satellite, or over-the-air broadcast television, set-top boxes – and the embedded flash with which some include in their build – are a critical part of home entertainment.
Gateways Help Connected Homes Communicate with the World
We’ve covered how technology is enabling smarter home security and entertainment systems. But, what data infrastructure is needed to tap into larger networks outside the home? Enter: home gateways.
Home gateways provide a bridge between devices connected through a home (aka local area) network with a wide area network (WAN). This WAN can be a broader network or the Internet. No Internet, no surfing the Web or streaming TV. With these gateways, network operators are also better equipped to help end-users monitor and troubleshoot wireless network issues, TV connectivity, and more.
In addition, a home gateway is the bridge for connected home devices to communicate with each other over the Internet of Things (IoT). These IoT devices are becoming more powerful and intelligent in analyzing, manipulating, managing and protecting data. With an influx of IoT data, new features in connected homes such as predictive maintenance could arise.
Whether through home entertainment, security, or networking, connected homes are already automating the way we live today – and could be the norm for home life in the future.
- Smart speakers | Statistics & Facts. https://www.statista.com/topics/4748/smart-speakers/
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