What is a smart home? This sounds like a really simple question but the answer is in fact not so much. Every person has their own definition for a smart home depending on their requirements or priorities. A general idea of a smart home refers to a convenient setup of your home to connect all the appliances and the devices present in your home to the internet so they could be remotely controlled from anywhere with any device having an internet connection. This is how we have perceived the concept of a smart home for a decade anyways. It had little to do with intelligence but rather with remote control or automation. A decade ago, a home where you could operate your blinders from your smart phone or train your thermostat to adjust with your preferred temperature was enough to call it a smart home. But, today a smart home implies much more than just a remote-controlled living space.
Today, a smart home coupled with data science and IoT is capable of adjusting itself completely to live up to its resident’s needs and sometimes even exceeding them to give them a safer, more entertaining, and comfortable stay. Using different types of sensory devices, appliances, and the whole spaces, a smart home collects and analyzes that data to determine your usage pattern and accordingly personalize your home to better suit your needs and impart you with a pleasant experience of living in your home.
McKinsey Global Institute has predicted a massive value growth of around the U.S. $11.1 trillion annually for the IoT by the year 2025. A smart home that is always connected to the internet to provide an unprecedented level of control and comfort to its residents will have a major role in this growth.
Today, there are only 12-16% of households in the U.S that use IoT smart home appliances. However, a recent survey indicates an impressive number of potential buyers and some sources even claim that around two-thirds of the consumers are likely to own some kind of smart home IoT devices by the end of the year. Let’s look at some practical uses and benefits of IoT smart home devices;
Monitoring and control – We can now focus our attention and energy on the things that value more in life like family, friends, or career, and it’s all thanks to the brand new level of control that we have over our household owing to the smart home IoT solution and services. We can easily manage and control the full range of functionality of our household devices on a mobile or web application. We don’t have to worry about managing little things in our household that takes up so much from the little time we get to enjoy with our friends and family and all that at literally just a click of a button. Smart system collects data from the connected devices in your household and lets you keep track of how things work in your household. For example, some smart fridges can check on the expiration dates on the products and notify you at the right time to help you optimize your shopping list or how much electricity each device is consuming or the quality of air in your living space, etc.
Optimization of spending – As already mentioned, an IoT enabled smart home system keeps collecting data from the smart devices in real-time to enable transparency to your household. This data provides you insights into electricity, water, and gas consumption. With the generated insights you can easily identify the waste points to adjust your usage accordingly and cut down on any kind of extra utility spending. Aside from that, smart devices are capable of optimizing the use of resources. For example, a smart bulb can detect the presence of residents in the living space and automatically turn on and off depending on the data coming from the presence sensors.
Environmental impact – This is one area where the application of IoT benefits not only the residents but our environment and the whole planet too. By optimizing our use of resources, we are not only reducing our spending but also helping in decreasing our carbon footprint. That’s why IoT is already being considered as the igniting flame of the green energy revolution. IoT enabled appliances and devices enable everyone to optimize the use of their resources in the best possible way so as to cut down on wastage and pollution and promote green energy by reducing carbon emissions. The scope of IoT smart devices is rapidly growing in this sector as it is high time that we start our transition to greener energy sources to prevent inflicting any further damage to our environment at our hands.
Improved comfort – IoT based smart home devices possess a certain level of autonomy that grants them situation-based decision-making capabilities. Thus, a smart bulb can turn on or off depending on the presence of its residents or window blinders adjust themselves to the daylight change to allow just enough light inside the house to make its residents feel comfortable. This decision making capability of smart devices makes our lives easier by operating according to the situations autonomously while still leaving the main controls in our hands.
Enhanced security – When we talk about security for homes, we generally think about security from unintended intrusions and theft. But IoT based smart home systems has broadened the scope of security of households. Now, IoT enabled smart home systems can detect power surges, water or gas leakages, etc. and notify you or respective authorities about the imminent danger and prevent any complications or even a possible catastrophe.
These are a few of the many areas of our lives that can be improved with the introduction of IoT based smart home systems in our households. And while the technology is still premature and has a lot of room for improvement, it has shown promising results so far and is a strong contender for the viable source of green energy.