One of the newer concepts in electronics is the Internet of Things or loT. A lot of people have not even heard of it and are not aware of how much of it is already around us. In a nutshell. loT refers to a network of simple devices that can connect to each other using the internet. The devices perform different tasks, the most fundamental of which is the collection of data. This data will then be passed around via the internet so that systems can monitor and regulate functions. This will allow for automation or minimal human intervention.
Ranging from monitoring stations to household objects. it is estimated that there are more than 8 billion loTs around the world doing different tasks today. The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted that with the global growth of loTs. it will be an industry worth $11 trillion by 2025. And a large portion of that will be loTs in smart homes.
A smart home is essentially a house that has a lot of loTs that perform various tasks from turning lights on and off to cleaning and even closing the shades of windows. It is domesticated technology where the technology provides an unprecedented level of control for the comfort of the
house's occupants. Around 10-15% of households have embraced the use of loTs in their homes while others have some access to loT in some ways. Good if you belong to the former butthose in the latter might not even be aware of where loTs apply in their lives. Let us first take a look at the benefits and modern applications of smart homes and loT in smart homes and then let us look towards the promises they can bring for the future.
Benefits of Internet of Things for Smart Homes
The most important function of loTs is their ability to collect and store data. Earlier forms of smart homes would display these data on their monitors. Think of a thermostat that monitors the temperature of a room. Look at the display screen and it will tell you that information. But loTs nowadays perform more than just monitoring since they can process the data as well in order to present meaningful insights. And monitoring has gotten a lot more personal and mobile, You can use apps on your phone to tell you what specific information you need, The thermostat can also now tell you how much energy it had been using as well as the cost of its operation. In addition, you can now access it wherever you are in the world. All you need is an internet connection and you can track how and what your appliances are doing.
Smart home appliances now give us an unprecedented level of control and options. We can now set appliances to monitor conditions and self regulate based on our preferences. Mobile and web applications also offer a full range of functionalities that we often ignore when we only have the manual. More importantly, we can now remotely control our appliances. You can turn them on and off wherever you are in the house and even when you're not in the house.
3 Power consumption and optimization of cost
Smart appliances are essentially designed to minimize their use of resources because of their loT components. Smart lighting for instance would automatically turn on or off depending on whether its loT sensors can detect someone. That means that it will only use the energy it needs to perform its function when people are around. This is a huge game-changer when it comes to expenditures. Smart appliances can monitor the exact amount of energy it has used and you can monitor what you will need to spend,
4 Environmental impact
Optimizing energy consumption benefits everyone. Not only are we spending less butthat means that we are contributing less to humanity's carbon footprint Those who push for green energy recognize the importance of using loTs because it requires very little amount of energy to work. loT and smart home appliances have decreased carbon emissions which means that we cut down pollution significantly.
5 Improved comfort
The level of autonomy that we can give out smart home appliances means that we have fess to think about. These appliances now have a level of situational decision-making capabilities that Iets them perform their tasks without intruding on our constant awareness. Some smart refrigerators can now monitor the expiration dates of your products and even reorder them online. Window blinds can now monitor the room's level of natural light and temperature and it adjusts itself to regulate it so th at its residents can be comfortable.
Inside Today's Smart Home
According to studies, more than half of households today contain at least one smart home device. These range from something as common as a smart speaker like Amazon's Alexa ora robot vacuum cleaner or robovac like Roomba to something more complex like home security systems or smart appliances hubs that link, monitor. and regulate entire systems.
While smart home appliances are designed to all work together as a system. they are also categorized based on their functions or on the rooms in the house where they are usually found and operate.
Lighting: These smart lighting appliances include switches, lightbulbs. LED lights, and other light-generating devices which we can be set to turn on or off on its own. They can likewise adapt their intensity to the time of day or even set the ambiance for different activities like a romantic evening. entertaining guests. watching TV. reading a book. and so on.
Temperature control: These are smart appliances that monitor the house's environment and regulates the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning appliances. These climate control appliances are very helpful when extreme weather conditions happen and the occupants of the house want to be more comfortable.Home security: Round-the-clock safety solutions include smart home security devices where you need to input passwords to activate. They monitor doors and windows so the owners can be informed when they are unlocked when they shouldn't be. They also include CCTV cameras, baby monitors, and even video doorbells that serve as a monitoring eye to what's happening around the house.
Appliances: Making up a bulk of the smart home, these are your day-to-day appliances but they offer more than their usual functions. A smart entertainment system for example includes smart TV and surround sound systems that work in tandem to offer a heightened experience of watching. Smart kitchen appliances can include water faucets that open and close when a person's hand is detected in very close proximity or a washer and dryer that does the laundry for you.
Controlling the smart home: Smart devices like your phone or smart speakers can be commanded to manage your smart home. Apps on your mobile phone or tablet can be set to your preferences or the time of day or the occasion or activities in a room.
The Future of Smart Home
While the present is already full of possibilities, there's still some room to grow when it comes to the possibilities that smart homes can become. Imagine watching a horror movie and your lighting system responds by dimming the lights during key moments of fright and jump scares. Imagine doors and gates that open and close only when it recognizes your face or a smart device and would alert the authorities or security agencies when it's not you. Imagine a temperature control system that monitors when you are about to arrive home and checks on the overall environment of the house to set your preferred level of comfort. Imagine a shower that monitors what you are doing while showering that adjusts
the type of water sprinkles and angles to rinse the soap or shampoo off you more effectively. Imagine sensors in your garden that only waters the lawn when a certain level of dryness is reached. The possibilities are certainly all up to our imaginations. But there must always be caution and restraint in exploring such possibilities as there are still some challenges that smart home technology must overcome.
1 The Big Brother
While the level of monitoring and automation is one of the strong areas of smart technology. there is still something disconcerting about it.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss but with the level of information that smart technology can give you. it might get creepy and intrusive. How would you feel if your parents or spouse finds out how much water you are using while showering or doing the laundry? How would you feel if your appliances know more about your spouse's preferences than you? It knows her favorite song or movie as well as her preferred level of sweetness of her coffee.
Smart home tech is now one of the selling points of many real estates strategies and landlords. They include smart technology in the homes they are selling. While it may seem like a great idea, one should also think about who is monitoring or controlling these devices. Your real estate agent or landlord might still have access to your smart devices even when they turn them over to you. Worse. they might use it to harass or intimidate. There should be a clear boundary between your privacy and theirs.
3 Security issues
As your devices become more interconnected, their vulnerabilities can also grow. Hackers can have multiple points of entry to your system to monitor you and control your devices. Better protection is always preferred but it might become more intrusive and inconvenient.
4 The cost
The price of most smart home technology today is still too steep. Cost-effective technology is still limited but companies like Amazon and Google are offering cheaper alternatives. As more companies convert to smart technology, perhaps the price will also decrease.
A smart home is the future. With so much potential and challenges. companies must take a proactive approach to make home life more convenient to everyone and that includes the environment.