If you think back to five or ten years ago, the idea of controlling your thermostat with a smartphone might have seemed far-fetched. Fast forward to today, and controlling your lights, microwave, front door and thermostat with a smartphone is commonplace. As the smart-home market continues to grow, it begs the question of what the smart home of the future looks like. Here are our predictions for what smart homes could look like in ten years and beyond.
In the next decade smart thermostats will be inside every home. While relatively inexpensive today, smart thermostats are still pretty rare outside of the homes of tech-savvy homeowners. However, it’s hard to overstate the savings and environmental benefits that come from the installation of a Google Nest or Ecobee. With a set-it-and-forget-it control mechanism, smart thermostats can keep houses all over the world from wasting excess energy. There is also something thrilling about being able to walk into a room and have your smart thermostat adjust its settings. In the future, expect this smart technology to be a staple of every home.
Today, voice-activated showers are akin to something out of a movie. Fortunately, that won’t be the case in the smart home of the future. Automatically controlling a shower by voice will help not only conserve water but also get to the right temperature every time. Let’s imagine your preferred shower temperature is 102 degrees. Getting that temperature manually every time is tricky and often takes a lot of unnecessary adjusting of the shower handle. In the smart home of the future, your shower knows your preferred temp and gets it right every time. On top of that, Kohler is already giving us a little taste with the Moxie. Adding Alexa to the showerhead so you can listen to news, sports and traffic is the ideal way to get your head ready for the rest of the day.
While Bill Gates has already shown us a glimpse of this future, AI will play a huge role in the smart home of the future. This home will come equipped with sensors that pick up a signal that knows who you are and where you are inside your home. Once your position is determined, every time you enter a room, lights and temperatures will be adjusted. If you’re entering a room with a stereo, a sensor might trigger your favorite kind of music and automatically begin playing. AI will also be able to determine time of day and know that when you enter the kitchen each morning to start brewing coffee. The possibilities with AI are nearly endless in a smart home, but they are coming, and the future is closer than we think.
As smart homes continue to look for ways to conserve energy, environmental sensors will have a big role to play. Expect to see the smart home of the future detect when your HVAC needs to be tuned up. The same type of predictive technology will let you know that you need to replace your air filters. Do you have an air duct leak that could be dangerous to you and your family? Smart sensors will automatically catch this intrusion and alert you of potential danger. In the case of conserving energy, smart sprinkler systems will know when rain is on the way and will automatically shut off. We’re already seeing this technology with services like Rachio, and we expect to see this tech standard with every home in the next ten years.
There is no question Google Home and Amazon Alexa are already becoming standard fare in smart homes. You can safely expect to see voice assistants become mainstream over the next decade. Popularized in movies like Iron Man, “Jarvis” was a smart voice assistant that could be reached anywhere, anytime. While Hollywood glamorized those capabilities, hiding microphones throughout the smart home of the future can enable something similar. Instead of being reliant on physical devices in each room, one main device will pair with mini microphones enabling voice assistant technology in every room. Voice assistant improvements will also be able to detect your mood to more closely function as a real assistant.
We’ve written endlessly about the potential of the Internet of Things and the smart home of the future is ground zero. In the next ten years IoT will dominate the smart home with all of your devices connected to each other. Imagine your refrigerator telling your grocery store that you’re out of milk and then the milk just arrives. IoT is a little more complicated than that, but the gist is the same. This category dives headfirst into a similar space as AI advances, but establishing a morning routine is the future. You’ll wake up, the coffee maker will start. The shower will get heated, and your TV will turn on the news and traffic. Routines like this and more are already here but not yet mainstream. Ten years from now we’ll be hard-pressed to remember how we survived without them.
Like it or not, the smart home of the future is coming. Yes, there are plenty of lingering questions about privacy and data sharing that demand answers. Still, even with so many questions, momentum is on the side of the smart home of the future. The question isn’t if but when.