What Will the Future of the Smart Home Look Like?
The Jetsons, an American animated series from the 1960s about a nuclear family living in a satirical version of the twenty-first century, complete with complex and funny inventions, inspired millions to fantasise about the future state of technology and life at home. Smart toothbrushes, robot cleaners, and video phones are just a few examples of technology that were portrayed as science fiction at the time but are now, more than 60 years later, becoming a reality. Since the Jetsons, the concept of the “smart home” has captivated people all over the world. In fact, there were an estimated global 175 million smart homes in 2021, a figure that is expected to skyrocket as people increase their smart device adoption and the value they place on convenience-based applications. Just as the Jetsons predicted the future, tech companies, consumers, and homebuyers are attempting to reimagine what a home will look like in 10, 20, or even 30 years.
The desire for a smart home is rapidly shifting from the future to the present, with 81 percent of consumers more likely to buy a new home equipped with smart technology. Devices are at the heart of the smart home. Comfort, efficiency, information, entertainment, security, and other desired functions must all come from a connected ecosystem of devices working together in the home. But, with much of the Jetsons’ futuristic technology now being realised, what is preventing us from fully embracing the smart home? We have yet to develop truly integrated devices capable of flawlessly interfacing and interacting with one another to provide enhanced smart home functionality.
To provide the home with the intelligence it requires, we need a universal ecosystem through which these devices can communicate. Matter, under development by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, will create the foundation for such an ecosystem of IoT devices, classified by the function or service they provide. While any vendor can create their own device, having a standardized communication protocol would allow any Matter application to communicate with other Matter-compliant devices. As a result, Matter would allow a homeowner to easily connect and have compliant devices interact in a vendor-neutral way. Such a universal ecosystem can also provide a mechanism for sharing WiFi Sensing outputs between IoT devices, resulting in a standardized way for devices to consume or share sensing outputs. Matter will eventually make it easier for other product vendors and/or homeowners to create their own applications based on sensing outputs.
We anticipate five key trends that will shape the future of the smart home, each requiring innovative technology and new approaches to service delivery.
- Enhanced Integration Capabilities
- Artificial Intelligence-Driven Internet of Things (IoT)
- Touchless Technology
- High-Speed Network Connection
- High Level of Customization
WiFi Sensing’s motion insights may be the untapped technology capable of transforming connected devices into a single integrated ecosystem, ushering our homes into the smart world. WiFi Motion is a rapidly evolving technology that can capitalise on these five trends to help actualize the future of the smart home by targeting the growing willingness of customers to spend on the smart home and serving as a central ecosystem for internet service providers (ISPs) to enter a growing market that generated $90.97 billion in revenue in 2021.
Enhanced Integration Capabilities
The era of isolated single-function devices has come to an end. Consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with having to set up, connect, and then use devices through dozens of different applications. After all, convenience is the most significant factor in smart home device usage across all demographics. The smart home will not only need to centralise the ecosystem of connected devices, but it will also enable unprecedented inter-device communication to share data and provide new, enhanced features. Modern homes lack the necessary context to make the transition to truly smart homes. WiFi Sensing is the missing link that transforms an existing WiFi network into a dynamic ecosystem of connected devices that can leverage one another for enhanced smart home functionality. Furthermore, by integrating with a native ISP’s mobile app and existing smart devices, WiFi Sensing provides consumers with an intelligent and simple experience. WiFi Motion can activate smart home functions based on motion in the home, such as adjusting the thermostat when you walk in the front door or turning on or off other smart devices based on your natural movements.
Artificial Intelligence-Driven Internet of Things (IoT)
The name itself contains a key concept underlying the smart home: intelligence. While artificial intelligence is no longer as novel as it once was, its potential for providing predictive, intelligent behaviour to IoT devices has only begun to be explored. We believe that future devices will be intelligent by nature, recognising user patterns to establish routines and predict behaviour. Home operations will benefit from unprecedented levels of convenience and efficiency. WiFi Motion learns movement patterns using predictive analytics and AI to enable a truly cognitive home with enhanced capabilities. The need for manual input will become more archaic as our devices become smarter.
Touchless technology will come to define the smart home, as seen by the rise in predictive behaviour from connected devices. Ideas for gesture recognition are already inspiring tech companies around the world to look beyond traditional triggers and leverage how people move and interact in their homes. Modern examples of gesture recognition include opening a car trunk by swiping your foot under the back or shaking your wrist to wake up a smartwatch display. Touchless technology will also vastly improve the customer experience by requiring fewer direct points of contact. Customers will no longer have to open multiple apps every time they want something to happen in their homes. WiFi Sensing is an excellent example of touchless technology that does not interfere with the normal routines and habits of users. Smart home functions can be activated simply by moving around as natural. Over time, with additional use, your connected home will also be able to get smarter as it recognises behavioural trends to provide unique, tailored experiences. All without wearables or hardware.
High-Speed Network Connection
The future of the smart home will see a proliferation of IoT devices all connected to a single central network. With rising user expectations for what these devices can do, a consistent, high-speed network connection will go from a luxury to a necessity. Consumers will no longer tolerate lag or downtime, which could have a negative impact on their entire home in the future. Smart devices should not be added at the expense of network connectivity. WiFi is and will continue to be our lifeline as society shifts more and more activities online and into the home. While using IoT devices in the home as motion sensors, our technology does not interfere with their original functions, slow down the network, or affect data usage. In fact, the more devices in the home, the better our technology’s coverage and accuracy.
High Level of Customization
We’ve all heard the expressions “the customer is always right” or “the customer is king.” But in the tech world, we don’t always take that into account. One of the most difficult challenges for businesses looking to improve how they serve their customers at home will be putting the customer first. Service providers will need to offer a diverse range of customizable solutions to retain customers in a cost-competitive, low-loyalty market. Similar to cable demands, customization is based on a core desire to tightly control the service you receive so that you only pay for what you need and not all of the extra features. Similarly, the smart home operates in a personal space. To that end, a user must believe that they can tailor their smart home experience to their specific needs while remaining comfortable and secure. Everyone’s house is unique, so why shouldn’t their smart home be? WiFi Motion was created with the customer in mind. Our app allows users to configure a variety of custom notifications to provide the motion insights they require, while also intelligently learning a user’s patterns to provide a better experience. Depending on a home’s layout and IoT devices, WiFi Motion can be a unique setup for each space. Standard off-the-shelf solutions will no longer suffice.
ISPs as the Smart Home Facilitators
The network and connected devices are the smart home’s hub. As users connect their IoT devices to their existing WiFi, ISPs play a critical role in the facilitation of smart home functionalities. ISPs, with their network infrastructure and ecosystem in place to enable mass adoption, are a natural fit for delivering the future smart home. Their subscribers can enjoy unique smart home benefits like energy savings, comfort, and convenience, increasing customer satisfaction. Conversely, happier customers will improve key ISP metrics like net promoter score and customer retention rate. As the number of IoT devices in a home increases, so will the network’s resolution and, as a result, the ability to precisely automate household settings and tasks. This encourages customers to look to their ISP for help in expanding their home networks.
WiFi Sensing is another critical technology that can capitalise on the anticipated boom in the smart home market. According to Safe Smart Living, 81% of consumers are more likely to buy a new home with smart technology, while Comfy Living reported that 63% of homeowners want their homes to have a smart security system. With the smart home market expected to grow by 25% by 2027, customers have a clear desire to enhance their home environments through new services and experiences. ISPs should aim to lay a foundation of scalable technology to strengthen and expand their services in the coming years. WiFi Motion’s smart home integration creates a core ecosystem that ISPs and other partners can use to provide greater, newer, and innovative value through their own technology or services. WiFi Motion lowers the barrier to entry for smart home technology and opens up a new revenue market for ISPs via a simple WiFi connection.