The Smart Homes Revolution is about to arrive, and things are going to change at an incredible pace.
According to Samsung Electronics Chief Executive Boo-Keun Yoon, the next few years will see a change in the way millions of us live and experience our homes, thanks to integrated ‘internet of things’ technology.
Think back to the start of the 2000’s. Within a few years, we went from basic, brick like mobile phones with mere text and call capability, to highly integrated online phone technology.
The smartphone, led by Apple’s iPhone launch in 2007, gave us HD video, photography, multimedia and millions of apps that have transformed the way we interact with each other and information. These tech leaps could have never truly been imagined just a few years earlier; have disrupted industries – from banking to taxis (uber), news (Twitter) and dating (Tinder) – and made many new millionaires and billionaires along the way.
“(now) Change is coming, and coming fast,” Yoon told a big tech conference in September 2014.
“Remember how quickly, in just a few years, smartphones and tablets have changed our lives,” Yoon said. “I’m certain the home of the future will be woven into the fabric of our lives just as fast.”
In fact, Samsung’s own projections indicate that by 2018, people will spend US$100 billion on smart-home technology, and there will be 45 million smart-home systems in use.
Samsung, Google, Apple, Amazon and others are all investing heavily in their ‘Smart Home’ strategies -developing both the technology products and systems that can bring data and hardware together for relevant human use in and outside of the home.
Let’s look at the biggest developments so far in the ‘Smart Homes Revolution’:
As their CEO suggested, Samsung wants to be right in the action and the tech giant is bullish on the smart homes future.
In August 2014, Samsung acquired ‘SmartThings‘ for an undisclosed figure.
Like all good tech stories, SmartThings began as a small kickstarter campaign and grew rapidly to one of the pack leaders in Smart Homes technology. SmartThings will be an independent part of Samsung, as the company positions its Smart Home brand as simply ‘Smart Home.’
The Samsung system will work with their smart watches and Galaxy range of Android phones. Samsung will release more details in November 2014 at its show in San Francisco.
Amazon is going in all guns blazing. The company made headlines in 2014 for its development of drones for home delivery services.
But under the radar, Amazon has been moving into the smart homes revolution. In September 2014 Reuters exclusively reported Amazon has set up its “Lab126 division,” as a Smart Home development unit. The unit, analyst say, will be working to take the next step in the evolution of eCommerce. That is, to use Smart Homes technology as a platform for online shopping.
The Reuters article mentioned this juicy bit of information: “Amazon is testing a simple wi-fi device that could be placed in the kitchen or a closet, allowing customers to order products like detergent by pressing a button.”
Michael Wolf at Forbes.com called it the ‘Smart Home Shopping Network.’ Can you imagine running out of washing detergent, activating the smart system, and then have your detergent arrive on your doorstep in less time than it takes to order a pizza via drone? This could be the future.
According to the Reuters article, documents revealed Amazon was hiring hundreds of staff and investing tens of million of dollars in the Smart Homes revolution. Labs126 division, orginially set up to develop Amazon’s kindle 10-years ago, is now focused on creating gadgets and systems for smart homes integration.
Reuters reported the Amazon’s move was a strategic effort to cut Apple and Google off at the pass.
Google, most famous for its search engine, has been busy investing billions in the hardware and systems of the future. The company has been busy developing the self-driving car, is also going hard in the smart homes market, famously spending billions to acquire smart gadget and systems company ‘Nest’ in January 2014 for nearly $4 billion.
While Nest has a big market share is ‘smart’ devices like thermostats for home heating and smoke alarms, Google is quickly using Nest and its patented technology to the next level of home devices and systems.
Since the Nest aquistion, the comapny has added video technology DropCam for $600 million, allowing Nest to integrate homes in a way that measures interactions within the home, to help other devices make decisions about temperature and energy use.
Nest is also working with companies like Mercedes-Benz to integrate home information with your car, so you can communicate on the road, along with wearable fitness tracker, Jawbone. The connection to the fitnress cracker will allow the home to set the temperature based on your sleeping patterns, depending on the time of night or morning.
Nest’s pitch to users is to “create a more conscious and thoughtful home.”
One “Nest understands where people are in home, who’s in the home, what time they leave the home,” Grant Wernick, co-founder of local-search and leisure-recommendation service Weotta told Forbes. “As they open more of this up, companies like us could be able to plug into some of this data that people can opt into. We can make proactive recommendations of things people can do on Friday night.”
One of the world’s greatest innovators in personal technology, Apple has set up ‘HomeKit‘ – a system for integrating smart gadgets directly to your Apple TV or iPhone device.
Instead of looking at hardware, HomeKit will be more focused on app development and integration with a myriad of smart home gadgets from various suppliers.
Apple’s vision is a voice controlled home using your smartphone, smartwatch or Apple TV.
The idea is you’ll be able give Siri instructions such as ‘turn the heating up three degrees’, ‘lock the doors’ or ‘I’m going to bed’ and commands will be automatically sent out from your iPhone, Thomas Newton wrote for Recombo.com
So, where will we be with Smart Home technology in the next 10-years? A very exciting and innovating future awaits!
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