Future Living: Tech for enabling Smart Homes

|October 28, 2014 0
In the connected home segment, wireless technologies and mobiles will play a pivotal role in enabling M2M interconnect and an ubiquitous connected experience

Annie Mathew

There’s no question that the network evolution is nudging towards a more wireless tomorrow. It is widely believed that as many as 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020–that’s nine devices for every one of the eight billion people expected to be on our planet. Your phone, the fitness device on your wrist, your doorbell, the thermostat in your hallway, the smart TV in your living room, your refrigerator, microwave, the car in the driveway, all will be connected to the world and beaming data home.

With emergence of connected devices, the entire home is being reinvented as a data product, opening great opportunities. Consumers today already own multiple types of connected devices and this number will continue to increase over the next few years. Connected homes are rapidly moving towards reality and the age of smart, automated homes is here.

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According to ABI Research, connected home devices are potentially the “Next Big Thing” in consumer electronics industry and could reach a global market value of US$10 billion by 2014. The figure will balloon with growth in sensor and control technologies, mobile applications, network traffic, big data management, analytics and cloud computing.

Imagine a period when the mobile device was really a voice communication tool that just connected people. Today it has transformed the way we live our lives, it’s our gateway to the Internet, putting the power of the internet into our hands. With the click of a few buttons today, we share video, pictures, every special moment of our lives. This powerful device will also play a huge role in IoT, as it becomes a reality. It will be the single most used device that will enable consumers realise a connected device ecosystem that will simplify and transform everyday experiences. In the connected home segment, wireless technologies, and mobiles will have a pivotal role, which will enable M2M interconnect and an ubiquitous connected experience.

The connected home is potentially the next big technology revolution that could dramatically change many aspects of our daily lives. The networked home will have multiple services delivered over superfast broadband and these connected services could range from entertainment to education, home automation and security to healthcare, interacting with government and controlling our energy use. While the worldwide home automation technology market is witnessing remarkable growth due to demand for home automation and security systems that not only simplify living, but also increase energy efficiency and secure lives.

What’s driving this growth?

In the Asia-Pacific region, the growth of home automation is being fuelled by high-speed broadband connections, developments in home networking and advancements in 3G communications technologies. In India, the home automation market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% according to industry estimates.

Smart home products are becoming an affordable luxury to the average Indian, while the increasing awareness of energy efficiency and smart living has been growing over the last few years. While India still has a long way to go, it is surely a market with huge potential given the propensity of the evolving smartphone wielding population that continues to view technology adoption as a way to enrich and simplify lives.

What’s the future?

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have brought in innovative and affordable home automation systems by offering a luxurious and user-friendly interface, which has helped popularize them to a wider customer base. The convergence of these technologies has made installation and adoption of home automation systems simpler and more cost effective. Smartphones and tablets used in collaboration with the Internet and wireless technologies are excellent ways to monitor/control or signal systems or the connected ecosystem.

Increased affordability is perhaps the single most important factor that has influenced adoption and uptake of home automation systems. This has been possible with integration of smartphones and tablets which makes home automation more affordable, boosting sales. For instance, industry sources estimate that using a touch screen tablet as a user interface can save up to 50 percent of the home automation system price and thus catalyse greater proliferation. Advancements in wireless technologies have also resulted in growth of control/monitoring and automation systems market.

As consumers demand for a digital lifestyle experiences growth, and ‘smart’ becomes a core mantra of the new age lifestyle, adoption of connected homes will see corresponding growth. Technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 4G, IR, RFID and so on, will together provide a compelling experience, resulting in buoyant growth.

There has never been a more exciting time to engage in a forward-looking discussion on M2M technology. While it is astounding how much M2M solutions have expanded over the last several years, this is only the beginning.

The author is Director Business Development & Alliances, BlackBerry India

The article was published in PCQuest June 2014 issue

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