As another year ends, everyone finds themselves looking ahead at what is to come. As people, we look ahead and imagine what our personal lives might be like this time next year. As consumers, we think about what new technologies might hit the market. Just 20 years ago, smartphones didn’t even exist; now they are a staple for adults and kids alike. So, what is to come in the next 20 years? Here’s my take on five emerging technologies, and how they will influence the smart home industry.
We’ve all seen the stories in the news – 3D printers have been tested in all sorts of industries, from medical uses to entertainment uses. Technology like this is really only limited by your imagination, so it makes sense that it could translate to smart home technology. Imagine printing out a replacement light bulb, or a replacement part for a broken washing machine or furnace. What if your printer could communicate with your appliances and print what you needed without you doing anything? You could have a smart 3D printer that prints out a pair of slippers when you get home from work. The possibilities are really endless.
Drones hit the market in a big way last year during the holidays, and the interest was further fueled when news hit that Amazon was testing using drones for delivery services. Right now we don’t necessarily think of drones as smart devices, but why couldn’t they be? Drones could be used to fetch you a drink and bring it to you when you are poolside. Maybe they could eventually be used to change lightbulbs or clean gutters. They could replace your stationary security camera and instead be triggered to monitor an area if motion is detected.
VR is this year’s big holiday story, with headset slated to be the top seller like drones and hover boards were last year. VR has room to grow in the smart home space – though exactly how is still unknown. Since VR is meant to take you away from your current space (unlike augmented reality which alters your existing reality), it might work for automating home tasks, or making them smart tasks, if paired with the right devices.
Control Through Gestures
Voice control emerged over the last few years, and has continued to advance from smartphone assistants to smart home digital assistants. Next up, though, could be gesture control. Imagine waving your hand to turn a light on, or pointing your finger to hit snooze on your alarm. I’m an animated communicator, so this emerging technology makes me nervous, but I’ll see how it plays out.
Smart windows would be the ultimate home technology for saving money. Just think, what if your smart window automatically adjusted its tint to let sunlight in or to keep it out? If it was paired with your smart thermostat, suddenly you’ve got your windows allowing sunlight in and telling your thermostat to shut off for a while. You also wouldn’t necessarily need window shades, since you could increase the tint for privacy.