Smart home technology has been experiencing an exciting few years, and advancements in the realm of internet of things (IoT) are only increasing the potential that this technology holds. Over the next year, we will likely see these smart home products become more widespread and practical, as well as more powerful and interconnected.
As we head into 2017, here are five things to keep an eye on in regard to smart home technology…
1. Dedicated Touchpanels
The most common tool used for managing and controlling smart devices over the last few years has been the iPad or tablet. As these devices have become utilized for more and more tasks, we are starting to see dedicated touchpanels become commonplace among smart home technology. These devices are built to perform one specific job as it relates to a smart device, making the process of monitoring and managing much more streamlined and intuitive.
Dedicated touchpanels display the status of your smart device, such as lighting, an appliance, or a thermostat, in a way that makes it extremely simple to initiate commands. As these tools seem to be arriving to market in mass, they are slightly increasing in size and screen detail. As more and more smart devices take over the home, we will likely see an influx of larger and more capable touchpanels as well.
2. Voice Control
Many of you may already be familiar with products that are utilizing voice control from companies such as Apple (siri), Amazon (Alexa), and Sonos. These companies are paving the way for the development of a wide array of products that are controllable through the human voice. Everything from A/V systems,to lighting and thermostats can be voice controlled, allowing homeowners to interact with their house and appliances in new and exciting ways.
Water your plants, play some new music from Beyonce, set your thermostat, or even check to see who is at the front door. All of these tasks are being made possible through the simple act of speaking your commands into a smart device. In 2017 we will likely see voice controlled devices continue to develop and spread.
Smart thermostats are becoming increasingly impressive as new models are released. These devices are a significant step forward when compared to older models that are just synced with a clock. Now, it is possible for your smart thermostat to be programmed to detect your presence in the home, and adjust the temperature accordingly.
Advancements like these are leading to significant cost and energy savings. Just as the device can detect when to turn on, it can similarly detect when you leave the home and enter standby mode. One of the leading smart thermostat products is NEST, which provides homeowners the control I outlined above, as well as the ability to monitor usage and control the device directly from your smartphone.
4. Motorized Shades
Motorized shades and window treatments have been experiencing a rather visible uptick in sales and popularity over the last year, likely continuing into 2017. More and more manufacturers are building out these products, allowing for amazing solutions that cater to any type of window.
Additionally, blinds that take this form can help cut down on energy costs. It is now possible to automate shades at sunset in order to help retain heat from the day. Perhaps even more impressive, motorized shades can connect with your thermostat in order to decide when to open and close.
5. Integration Advancements
Smart homes become truly exciting when products begin to integrate and reach a high level of synergy, which is something we will definitely see more of in 2017. You can expect to see the gaps between individual devices such as your security system, your lights, and even your car, connecting in helpful new ways.
Many corporations are working towards the development of integrated systems and components, simplifying processes for the consumer. As I mentioned earlier, we are already seeing this integration play out between thermostats and motorized shades. This will likely increase in possibilities, as consumers look for one-stop solutions to assemble multiple pieces of smart home technology all in one place.