How’s 2018 for the smart home turning out so far?

Can you believe we’re halfway through 2018 already? It feels like it was only yesterday that we were making our predictions for the new year. We posted a blog titled, The future of the smart home in 2018 and beyond, back in January listing some of the biggest smart home trends we expected to see this year. Now we’re 6 months in and we’re already starting to see some of these on their way to coming true. Read on to find out more.

1. Artificial intelligence will take the smart home to the next level

In January, we predicted that the reality of an AI future was not too faraway. With leading tech companies like LG, Samsung and Panasonic all revealing their plans to add artificial intelligence to a host of devices at the Las Vegas Electronic Consumer Show earlier this year, AI is expected to be the next big thing in smart technology.

Said to be the “tipping point for the smart home”, devices using AI would be able to work with one another to achieve a goal, like cooking a meal. It was even predicted that through AI technology, your smart home might even be able to monitor your behaviour, learn your habits and pre-empt your needs, without even having to ask.

Has this prediction come true?

According to Predicting Our Future, a podcast about the next revolutions in technology, AI is the future of the smart home. In their final episode, they posed the question – “Are we on the cusp of witnessing a technological revolution where our homes will take care of themselves and manage our lives for us?”

Their answer was very interesting. They said smart homes powered by AI will be able to fulfill our needs before we’re even aware of them, acting as our personal caretakers and making decisions for us. That means that we’re well on our way to an AI future. But has 2018 been the starting point?

As brands like LG and Samsung promised, we’re starting to see AI creep into our smart homes. Today’s consumers are relying on artificial intelligence and machine learning more and more and these companies are responding. Some of the products to already enter the market with AI and ML capabilities this year include:

  1. ThinQ AI by LG: LG devices like washers, air conditioners and fridges can now recognise your voice, and, through video, sensor and human body detection, will even learn and refine tasks and settings through analysis over time.
  2. Bixby by Samsung: Bixby is able to recognise each person in the household and gears its response to an individual’s account or preferences, making controlling appliances and devices even easier

So where can we see AI going? Is it just a fad or is there a growing market? Does anyone really need to talk to their house to make it do things it would only take a second to do? Yes, turning your lights on and off only takes a few seconds and yes, changing the thermostat is as easy as pushing a button. But now you can do all that while sitting down, from a different room or if your hands are full.

You can even take control of your household if you’re in bed sick or halfway across the world on holiday. So while it’s easy to write off AI for the smart home as a novelty, if you consider all of its applications and just how vulnerable us humans can be, you begin to appreciate its value.

Therefore, we expect AI and smart homes to continue to be one of the biggest tech trends in Australia this year. In fact, experts say that AI will run Australia’s future homes. And while much of this tech is already available, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

2. Integration will make or break smart home devices

We also predicted that the growth of integration into the house will be one of the biggest tech trends in Australia this year. Given the convenience it provides homeowners, we expected smart home products to continue to thrive in 2018 and become even more efficient moving forward.

With increased convenience, control and customisation a main priority for Australian homeowners, we said that it would be the smart home products that integrate with other smart home products that continue to dominate the market.

Has this prediction come true?

An overarching theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress was centralised home automation, where users can control every connected appliance and device in their homes. With a specific focus on voice activation, digital assistants like Alexa, Bixby and Google Assistant paved the way in 2017 and 2018 is expected to follow suit.

With the amount of connected products predicted to triple from 2018 to 2025 and reach a massive 75 billion devices installed worldwide, integration is clearly top priority moving forward. So it’s the innovative smart home connectivity solutions that aim to create a smooth, connected environment with unified control for users that will continue to thrive this year and beyond.

In fact, we’ve already seen multiple features converge into single devices this year, with 2018 marking the rise of all-in-one devices that combine multiple functions such as speakers, cameras, hubs, lighting and more. But there are still some barriers to connectivity that we need to be wary of:

  • Interoperability – Commonly, appliances with any sort of intelligence and data collection originate from various vendors, who rely on different connectivity standards and have different network interfaces.
  • Multiple controls – Multiple touch points complicate control among various IoT systems, even though one of the keys to an efficient user experience with these products is creating a smooth, one-space experience across all elements in a connected environment.
  • Connecting to consumers – When it comes to home appliances, smart or not, consumers are prone to choose easy-to-use, reliable, and most importantly, durable devices that don’t require significant learning and changing habits.

So while still in its infancy, enhancing the accessibility, use and functionality of connected devices will noticeably boost adoption rates in the near future.

3. More internet-connected appliances than ever before

Another prediction we made back in January was that Australian homes would rely on internet-connected appliances now more than ever, especially to control their homes remotely.

We said that we were on the verge of an era in which just about every device would be connected to each other and the internet, and expected internet connectivity to be built into many existing products and service.

Has this prediction come true?

With the rapid uptake of smart home products, internet connectivity has become a necessity as opposed to a preference. With everything from smart speakers to smart TVs to smart fridges flooding the Australian market, 2018 is already set to be a watershed year.

In fact, Australia’s IoT at home market grew by 55% in 2017 and is only expected to rise in 2018. The Telsyte Australia IoT @ Home Market Study 2018 also revealed that the average Australian household now has 17.1 connected devices in 2018, up from 13.7 in 2017.

This means that the internet infrastructure that drives our smart tech is becoming a requirement rather than an optional extra. Therefore, everything is starting to become connected – both to each other and to our Wi-Fi – whether we like it or not.

The year of the smart home is upon us, and the connected lifestyle awaits. Get in touch with Advantage Air for more information on our MyLights and MyAir smart systems.