by Julian Lee, founder and CEO of Ambi Labs
An article from the Saturday Evening Post in 1900 forecasted the “home of the twentieth century”. From elevators, to “houses cooled by liquid air”, where home automation is the standard. Since the introduction of household appliances, we have enjoyed a degree of automation, helping us navigate chores and tasks easier.
The emergence of increasingly capable IoT systems has teased the idea of smart home systems that integrate autonomously with the specific needs of homeowners. With projections in smart home market growth from $20.38 billion USD in 2014 to $58.68 billion USD in 2020. However, with this potential that is made available, there are several considerations that you should take before going in.
1. A good smart home IoT should function as sensor and actuator.
Understanding the needs of the savvy homeowner has given rise to proof of concepts in smart home IoTs that have the means to function through varying conditions, with some pulling through successful crowdfunding campaigns, showing a demand that is filled with smart home solutions that are steadily improving.
2. Mobile applications and functionalities between smart home IoT and mobile devices are key.
Few devices are as intimately woven into our daily lives as our mobile phones, thus features, controls, and functionalities have to be developed to support a myriad of operating systems.
Functionalities that users should expect include personalised settings that include crucial, and informative notifications, the capability to connect multiple devices to the IoT without causing too much strain on the home network, and different user restrictions and privileges that affect the device should be implemented.
3. With great mobile connectivity, comes great security responsibilities.
Along with due diligence for glowing reviews, users should be aware of the security concerns that arise with turning your home into a smart home, giving hackers different avenues to breach. Keeping software updated and changing passwords regularly is not enough.
Andrew Tennenbaum touches on the reasons for security woes faced by IoT systems, and Bruce Schneier mentioned on Wired regarding the importance of home IoT developers to have security as one of their priorities. Asides from homeowners updating their software, and changing passwords regularly, the onus is on companies to not roll out “embedded computers are riddled with vulnerabilities, and there’s no good way to patch them.” So get your devices from companies that you can trust.
4. Move away fragmentation in your smart home IoT, embrace integration.
With many smart home IoTs offering varying degrees of services, consider the commitment required on your end.
With platform fragmentation giving pause for consumers to commit to smart home IoTs, buying into solutions that rely too much on proprietary systems (hardware and/or software) could turn a costly investment into abandonware. Understanding that we are heaping variables, upon variables when it comes to running an entire smart home ecosystem that will suit everyone, the best solution for homeowners would be to find specific home IoT solutions suiting their needs that boast compatibility, and integrates seamlessly with the other IoTs.
5. AI will be the cornerstone for the future of sustainable smart home IoTs.
With the myriad of smart home IoTs available, the future homeowner can cherry pick specific solutions for their complete smart home IoT setup with no fuss, there is a guide to do so from scratch. Looking beyond the IFTTT capabilities that allow these systems to communicate with each other, the advancement of AI will help make the transition seamless, and afford greater functionalities and features to run concurrently.
With consumer trends heading towards merging IoTs with AI, companies are improving smart home IoTs to make incremental improvements in the background, improving the homeowner experience towards automation and comfort. Seamless, intuitive communication between interrelated devices and their users will be the future of the smart home IoT we are all looking for.
Julian Lee, the founder and CEO of Ambi Labs is a seasoned entrepreneur with a wide ranging skillset covering strategy development, finance, fund-raising, due diligence, legal contract negotiation, recruitment, company setup and administration. He is currently CEO at Ambi Labs, a hardware startup seeking to improve the usability of common household appliances.