Industry Opinion: What will the ‘smart’ home look like in 5 years’ time?

smart home icons and text shown above hand

At ISE 2018 last week we saw transparent displays from LG, Digital Projection ramp up its focus on 8K projection and a plethora of products pitched at making 4K HDR resolution more accessible, but just what will the connected home look like in the next 5 years? From living a ‘Jetsons-esque’ lifestyle to using voice commands to control nearly everything in the home, some predictions are more realistic than others so HiddenWires went to some experts in custom installation for their take.

CEDIA, the Z-Wave Alliance and owners of integration firms from each side of the pond weigh in on the question:If you could predict what kind of kit would be going into home installations in 5 years, what would these systems be comprised of?

Walte Zerbe, senior director of technology at CEDIA
walte zerbe, senior director of technology at CEDIA

“Wow, so a lot is going to change in five years. The CEDIA Technology Council talks about this very subject quite a bit to determine where things may go and how it could affect the CEDIA channel, society/habits, and life in general. Some top-of-mind items could be inclusive of the following:

The typical control systems will likely rely more on AI decisions and less on conditional logic as they are doing today. That’s going to change the control space quite a bit as it will allow more end-user control and will require less programming. Another aspect of the evolution of AI decisions includes a term we coined called “Ambient Subliminal Input Capture.” Devices that are always listening without you thinking about it will perform actions based on your commands and or conditions.

Networks will be far more evolved with multiple radios supporting multiple formats and the potential to self-heal when needed. These networks will also need to be 10 Gig networks at a minimum; we are actually to the point of needing 10 Gigabit networks today. Security and firewall protection will continue to be a mainstay for all projects across the technology space.

Home health, telehealth, and assistive technologies will likely be deployed within the next five years, which will lead to increased “sensorisation” (sensors around the home) that is more personalised to the individual, their needs, and preferences.

Energy management, lighting control including circadian rhythm management will likely be common (or at least desired if not mandated).  I’m living with circadian rhythm lighting control currently and it makes a profound difference on how I feel as I work during the morning, daytime, and evening.

Bottom line, all of these things will certainly affect privacy and security as every connected anything is a potential attack surface.  Ultimately consumers will need to decide between convenience vs. security/privacy.

To sum it up, I believe that the future is bright for the home technology professional as technology isn’t going to stop, there will be more choices, and someone will need to put it all together and provide good customer support.”

Joe Whitaker, founder of integration firm The Thoughtful Home

headshot joe whitaker, owner of integration company the thoughtful home, headshot

“Voice technology is only a baby step to the future. Machine learning and AI is the next step, and those that fall behind on voice are going to be left behind. The CEDIA community needs to start thinking of voice as the next great remote, touchscreen, or OSN. Just like with an advanced remote the profit is in the logic and headend. Utilise the UI to offer more solutions on the back end.

Stop worrying about the long and growing list of the "skills model" Look for devices that physically interact with voice or offer true integration. The best examples so far are offerings from Control4 and Crestron. There are more coming. Pay attention, learn everything you can about voice. And if you get confused just ask Alexa or Google...”

Mitchell Klein, executive director at Z-Wave Alliance

mitch klein, executive director at Z-Wave Alliance, headshot

“I think we’ll see a lot of the products we’re seeing now – HVAC, security, lighting, entertainment but also start seeing them installed for insurance or utility incentive purposes, particularly outside of the US and in Europe. We’ll see these kits built and sold to fit the requirements from these insurance and utility rebate programs and marketed to consumers accordingly. We may even see direct partnerships between these two entities as rebate programs with smart products become more commonplace.

We’ll also see non-home related smart devices used as part of these kits – wearables, personal technology, car technology – all synced to work with the larger smart home system. The smart home will become a natural extension of everyday life for consumers.”

Benjamin Davies, director at custom installation company Inspire Audio Visual

I’m hoping more intuitive automation products using artificial intelligence, so when entering a property or room, the system recognising the individual and without having to switch a button it recognises your daily habits and choses an action based up this. Once set up AI will allow systems to integrate into customers lives without programming.”

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