The intelligent home and the internet of things
When you think about how radically our lives have been changed by technology over the past few decades, you really have to wonder – what’s next?

Wyn Livingstone, Internet of More Things, elaborates on this point:

The technology powering intelligent homes will continue to improve as time goes on.

Thanks to Moore’s Law, technology is progressively getting smarter, faster, and cheaper. This will help foster innovation and promote the adoption of new technological, smart home systems and products.

The Internet of Things is slowly (but surely) changing how humans interact with their atmosphere. In the not so distant future, the new norm will be increased interaction with technology in what are currently everyday objects.

We are still in the innovator and early adopter phase of this industry, but we are certainly on our way to the early majority.

We already have a comprehensive idea about the future of domestic living. The ‘Internet of Things’ is already taking us into an era where connective technology is changing how we live our daily lives.

The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is has already brought us home thermostats controlled remotely from our smartphones, for example. These allow you to adjust temperature, switch off your boiler and keep an eye on your central heating system, anywhere, any time.

Brian Carson of Lawsons & Daughters, explains how this innovation works:

Internet of Things has many uses when it comes to reducing energy use in the home. For example, a central heating system can now send a text message to a designated smartphone asking whether you require the room temperature to be higher or lower. This can happen because it has learned a homeowner’s preferred level of heat at a certain time of day.

The same applies to new-generation lighting control systems and burglar alarms. Even CCTV cameras can be monitored remotely. It’s now even possible to use a smartphone or smartwatch to start your car and heat it to your chosen temperature before you leave the house.

Philipp Schuster, Managing Director at Loxone, echoes the sentiment that the intelligent home is already upon us:

There is a lot of talk about how intelligent homes are a feature of the future, but the reality is that full smart home automation is already here.

There are fully integrated systems and apps that let you control every element of your home, from lighting and heating, to security, music and ambience. What’s more, smart home technology is now affordable and should no longer be perceived as something that only celebrities or the wealthy can access.

Within the next 30 years, all homes in the UK will be fully automated, with every new-build property wired throughout for smart automation.

The requirement for piecemeal smart gadgets will no longer exist, as properties will have smart integration as standard. Loxone has made autopilot living a reality in more than 40,000 smart homes across the world already, and we expect exponential growth over the next five years, as centrally managed home automation moves from being a futuristic dream to an everyday reality.

The intelligent home
But the difference that the Internet of Things might make in 20 years is all down to intelligence. It’s only a matter of time before our homes and devices learn our habits and preferences and use the information to enhance our domestic lives. Connected technology in our homes will monitor, record and analyse our habits and lifestyles, pre-empting our wants, needs and planned activities. Your home will intelligently automate lighting, heating, hot water, music and entertainment to cater to you personally. Our homes could be able to read our facial expressions and body language.

James Dearsley, founder of Digital Marketing Bureau, explains the factors that will influence how quickly mainstream society adopts this new technology:

Intelligent Homes are not an ‘if’, purely a ‘when.’

However, speed of adoption amongst mainstream society is critical and will depend on a couple of core factors. First and foremost, people have to understand its application and ‘what’s in it for them’. In these formative years, intelligent home technology needs to bring instant and obvious benefits to the user and, ultimately, be easy to understand and implement.

Secondly, the challenge of trust. Understanding the technology has the power to collect private data makes some uncomfortable. Over time, this will ease and an understanding that the more technology knows about you, the more benefits you will receive but it is an area we must be aware of and acknowledge in Intelligent home deployment.

Appliances will know who you are, what you like and what you need. PCs, tablets and smartphones won’t be needed as walls and work-surfaces are connected and double up as touchscreens

Daily life
The Internet of Things could transform our daily lives. Your smartphone can already predict the weather but by 2036 your wardrobe could select an outfit based on your plans and the latest forecast. An intelligent alarm could adapt your wake-up time to suit any traffic or public transport delays.

Your home will actively monitor your health and alert you when something is wrong. Experts predict that you’ll be able to look in the mirror, have your vital signs scanned and the results sent to your GP. If you need a consultation you can be immediately linked to a relevant doctor.

In the kitchen, there will be a fridge that monitors every item including expiry dates. Not only will you be able to order items by telling your fridge to do so, it will also order based on your habits, whether you’re away or have visitors and also suggest recipes to ensure nothing goes to waste.

Automation overload?
But are we ready to have our lives managed in this way? Or is it a step too far?

Some people may find it overbearing. But with a population that’s living longer with physical and cognitive challenges, it could be invaluable as people get older but want to maintain independence.

The future of the Internet of Things shouldn’t be about technology taking over but freeing us up from domestic tasks so we live in comfort and have more time to focus on what really matters to us.

Ian Stewart, Director of Channel and Proposition for IoT at Arqiva, sums up what the future holds very nicely with these words:

To unlock the promise of the Intelligent Home with IoT, we need to transform the underlying services and economic models that that we use to run our homes today.

Whilst we are getting used to the concept of the Connected Home, which makes it easy for us to control and programme our heating, lighting and security systems for example, we’re still a way off the intelligent, self-learning home of the future.

Enabled by low cost, easy install LPWA Sigfox connectivity, the Intelligent Home would be a data-centric service eco system requiring minimum intervention, installation or support. It would be based on technology capable of powering the data volumes of the IoT on a commercially viable basis – overlaid with added data-powered services that deliver real value to the consumer.

The advent of the intelligent home will bring with it new economic and partnership models that will benefit consumers and enterprises alike.

Not only will it deliver new enhanced home service models to optimise the cost and running of a home, it will also create a sub-data economy where trusted partnership models allow home supply companies to share, broker and trade data in order to deliver new innovative models to sustain and further develop the intelligent home of the future.