I was recently visiting a friend in California’s Silicon Valley and we were discussing the advances in consumer technology that are automating the mundane and helping improve lives. Mesh networks of connected devices combined with artificial intelligence are truly automating everything in daily life. I predict that in the very near future, consumer devices such as the iPad or iPhone will be trumped by the ultimate status symbol – the automated smart home.
The intelligence of your home illustrates your technical sophistication, your commitment to being “green” and your ultimate mastery over your domicile. How cool is that?
For example, imagine the scenario where you control your audio entertainment system and lighting with verbal commands. Imagine the wonderment of your dinner guests when you command your chandelier to “dim lights to romantic dinner setting” and they automatically respond. As dinner is concluding, tell your kitchen to “brew some coffee” for dessert and – voila – nobody has to get up from the table to flip the switch on the coffee maker. Seem too futuristic? Check out the video demo of Siri – the disembodied voice feature of the new Apple iPhone 4S. Today on your phone, tomorrow in your home.
You can already use your voice to command your car, straight from the factory. With much fanfare, Ford launched its MyFord Touch powered by Microsoft Sync feature with the 2008 Ford Fusion and has already added it to many additional models. Now you can tell your car the desired AC temperature or to open the windows or sunroof with voice commands. Smart phones are now integrated into vehicles so you can get in-dash navigational, turn-by-turn directions to any contact in your phone’s address book. Even if there have been some problems, this is a huge step forward in the area of technology automation and integration.
Famous Apple alumni are also getting into the act. Apple iPod former SVP Tony Fadell and lead engineer Matt Rogers partnered to found Nest, a company that intends to profoundly change your home’s power consumption through ‘smart thermostats’ – enabling comfort while helping you save money. Each of these thermostats has a motion detector and is connected to each other wirelessly, sharing data on user preferences and activity. For instance, when the home is vacant, it can optimize power-savings. When occupied, the home can “learn” a family’s temperature preferences interactively based on time of day, unique individuals in the home (my wife likes it hot, I prefer cool) and seasonality – then share the preferences universally across devices.
Much of this home automation, via extended “Home Area Networks,” will have its genesis in green energy and smart grid. Similar to how Nest is going to market as a provider of both energy efficiency and comfort, the driving value proposition behind home automation is going to be energy conservation. Innovators are developing devices that can communicate wirelessly and provide ultimate control for the sake of economic and environmental advantages. The byproduct is that I get my smart home entertainment features – I can live with that.
For example, KORE partner Digi International introduced the Digi X-GridTM, a means to offer real-time energy consumption usage information and control energy use by extending the smart grid from the meter into the home. There is even a smartphone app for it, dubbed the Digi Energy Daytrader. It stands to reason that once connected devices are communicating, improving feature richness and control is the next logical step.
I, for one, am excited to be an early adopter so I can show off in front of my friends.
Check back next week for Part 2: The Ultimate Smart Home – Complete with My Top 10 Smart Home Wish List.
By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing
Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.