The Future of the Smart Home

By: Sage Koebcke

The smart home is said to be “the home of the future”, but for integrators, engineers, and the technology industry as a whole, it is a project for the now. As innovations in technology keep evolving and automation experts and integrators are constantly kept on their toes for the next new thing, the tech world can’t help but wonder what the smart home will look like 20 years from now. Drew Hendricks, writing for IoT Evolution, chunks the history of the smart home into 4 time periods.

In 1901 – 1920, there was the creation and increasing popularity of home appliances, including anything from toaster ovens to washing machines.

In 1966 - 1967, even though it was never popularized, the creation of the home computer, which previously seemed impossible, paved the way to many technologies that have led to today’s smart home.

In 1991, gerontechnology was introduced and it was the start of smart technology truly connecting with people with innovations such as Life Alert, medication reminders, and home monitoring.

In 1998 – Early 2000s, the idea of the smart home first came into fruition and smart home options began to become more affordable and accessible to everyone.

These milestones have to led to the smart home that we know and love, but what does the future look like? Let’s start with the things we know. We know that upcoming generations are what we call “technology natives”, meaning that have grown up their whole lives being familiar with the technology. What does this mean for the automation industry? On a minor level, it means a greater amount of smart homes in general due to its familiarity. On a major level, it means new technologies coming out rapidly. 11.8 million is the net tech employment in 2018 and the number continues to grow.

If you look at the past to help indicate future patterns, we can predict that smart homes will continue to provide a synthesized and organized way of living. If we look back through the history of the phone, the connection between humans has advanced greatly with the implementation of technologies, so why would it be any different with our homes, their communication with us, our communication with them, and it’s communication within itself?

Even though homes are a prominent part of automation, we don’t just have to automate homes but we can automate our lives. Think about the things we can see, sometimes in our everyday lives, such as track a family member’s location or even self-driving cars. The things that automation can do are not isolated to the home, the home is more of a metaphor for the astonishing things that technology that can provide in our lives. So as an integrator, ask yourself, how does home automation compliment and interact with the other solutions out there? Thinking outside the box is part of the solution.

In the podcast Prediction the Future, which is a series of interviews talking about the future of automation, John Barrett talks about the impact of automation outside the home on an even bigger level. He explains that we will truly see the impact of the advancements in the technology industry as a whole when we see the innovations created uses in important advancements in things like climate change and the advancement of law enforcement tools. When talking about what he thinks the future of automation will be, he explains that it should be more of a question of what we want smart technology to become rather than what we think it will become.

At the end of the day, we will never be able to predict, completely, the extent home automation will evolve. What we do know, for a fact, it will affect the pace and impact of automation in the future. What are you doing now to improve automation and the industry in the future?