Smart homes could transform our lives, but only if we connect our data

Ricky Cooper
soon, all our devices could be connected
soon, all our devices could be connected (Source: Getty)

The "smart home" – a familiar term? We’re already seeing the start of the connected home, with products such as automated under floor heating, curtains and music gaining real traction in the consumer world.

So you may already have an element of “internet of things” technology in your own home. But this isn’t the smart home we’ll come to know in the future. In fact, it just skims the surface of the huge potential of house-based technologies.

Truly intelligent homes are coming, and they will transform our daily lives. Industry experts are predicting that the typical home could contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022.

With so many devices set to make their way into our personal lives, forget thinking about smart devices in isolation. Yes, on its own a smart plug or smart meter can save time or energy. But in the future you will get a lot more from smart devices by connecting them together, wirelessly, to communicate and share all the information generated.

The future Smart Home is a learning ecosystem that will get insight from your wearable devices and the smart sensors in your property. This insight will reveal patterns of behaviour and different family members’ movements. The super smart part comes when your home uses this knowledge to inform and establish triggers between devices within the ecosystem. Daily life will be transformed in a whole new way.

So, for example, just imagine your car receiving instructions from your home to heat up on a cold weekday morning – it will recognise you’re walking to the garage from a motion sensor or GPS on your smart watch. Then, when you're on your way back from the gym, your fridge will be alerted to prepare a cold drink while the thermostat gets the hot water ready for a shower. This is where your home will reach a whole new level of intelligence and become truly life-altering day-to-day.

I like to think of this as the future 'Mensa home.’ It is set to make our hectic lives much easier, regardless of where we are.

This seamless and worry-free experience in our homes is the undoubted benefit, but it does come with challenges too. With at least 500 connected devices set to be present in the average home of the future, how on earth will we keep track of them? It’s no wonder that together, your smart home ecosystem will generate a sea of data on a scale never seen before. How and where will all that data be processed? Your home alone certainly won’t be able to process it all.

Outside help will be needed to do that. All the data generated by the software behind the smart devices in your home will need to sit and be processed somewhere, and this will most likely be in data centres. And this means we'll have to share our data.

Highly sophisticated and connected data centres are evolving around the world to cope with the increased data demand from new technologies. Without having this underlying infrastructure in place, we’ll have plenty of smart home devices but the potential for this technology to transform our lives will not be realised.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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