In my presentation last week, I discussed the fascinating world of the Internet of Things in healthcare; however, since IoT covers such a vast range of uses and industries, I thought I would talk about how IoT makes our lives easier at home. But before going any further, let’s recap what IoT is: ‘Internet of Things is a term used for technologies that allow the connection of a device to the Internet.These systems rely on the collection of data. The data is then used for monitoring and transferring information to other devices via the Internet. As an example, let’s look at a smart coffee maker. You can program the coffee maker to turn off once it brews the coffee automatically. It can also notify the user on their phone once the coffee is ready.
We are not talking about SCI-FI here as IoT home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives worldwide. The global market for intelligent home automation is worth around $40 billion today.This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you think of the convenience and ease that smart home devices offer. Since these IoT devices are connected, it becomes easier to manage multiple tasks. IoT devices at home are not just a fancy show-off of technology, but rather IoT home devices help save time and reduce costs and energy.
Today, we have a wide range of IoT devices at home, including thermostats, refrigerators, security systems, and even dryers and kettles. With time, more devices are most likely to be added to this list with even more innovative features.
Now let’s look at the picture below:
This is a picture of a smart home powered by IoT. Today, most smart IoT homes allow you to control devices via an app or voice commands. But let’s take a look at some examples:
Smart lighting can be scheduled to turn on/off and change its intensity. As an example, you can have the lights turn on in your house before you even get there, or you can program them to go on when you’re on vacation to prevent people from knowing you’re not at home.
In the future, I see this going even further with lights being able to adjust to actions around the house; for example, if you’re watching a movie, the lights can turn off or dim whenever you start watching it without even having to set the action.
In the future, doors can become more intelligent as well. Today I open my home door with a fob but imagine the door opening with your phone or facial recognition. If we look at the natural next step, the rest of the house will take action as soon as you enter your home.
Today, you can control your home thermostat remotely through your phone. In the future, that might not even be necessary; the thermostat will be able to recognize if you are approaching your home and turning the AC or heat automatically by checking the external temperature and set the best one for you.
You’re most likely familiar with an iRobot Roomba and may even own one already. But how does a Roomba work? You can fully control the Roomba from your phone, where you’ll be able to start and stop the device as well as schedule and customize your cleanings, magic, right?!
Since we’re at it, let’s add a smart fridge! A smart fridge can detect the items stored and keep track of essential details such as expiry and usage. These refrigerators work on a barcode or RFID system whereby they collect the batch and manufacture detail directly from the Internet. The fridge will tell you if you should throw anything away and when you should go get groceries next.
Nowadays, it is already possible for much of the home to “speak” with smart devices as smart sockets automatically turn on/off devices. When you wake up, alarms can play music or tell you the weather. Voice assistants can now manage lights, home appliances, thermostats, alarms, and other devices. This sounds very much like sci-fi; however, this is the future. Our homes will be increasingly technological to help us with the routine tasks we no longer wish to do ourselves, just like making coffee or mopping floors. Of course, some changes will not happen overnight as there are still some barriers to the widespread adoption of IoT-enabled intelligent homes, such as cost as these pieces of technology are increasingly expensive. Privacy is another primary concern with hackers accessing the entire network of devices through a compromised IoT device. Still, despite these risks, I believe we are moving towards a more digitalized home and way of living. And who knows, one day we might not even have to cook our meals!