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Smart Homes and the Internet of Things: What's Next?

DZone's Guide to

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things: What's Next?

What's next for smart home automation and IoT?

· IoT Zone ·
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Download The Comparative Guide to Rules Engines for IoT to learn what are the most common automation technologies used in the IoT domain for application development

The future is starting to take shape where families are set to live the life of the Jetsons sans the Googie-styled buildings. Appliances can now be controlled remotely, robots are set to clean your floors, and automation frees you up from housework. Homes are getting their smart on with modern devices turning to IoT connectivity to make daily living a whole lot easier.

How It All Began

The inception of smart homes began when appliances that featured automation were introduced. Labor-saving machines such as washing machines, water heaters, and dishwashers were the purveyors of home automation. These appliances have helped us complete chores easier and faster; just set the timer and let them do their thing. This evolved to the X-10 technology that controls these appliances through radio frequency bursts where you can switch appliances on and off using central controls.

And from this concept, the IoT smart home was introduced.

The Internet has opened doors for devices to connect and communicate within a network through which we can control more advanced and complex automation tasks. What was then done through the appliances’ connection to the power line can now be controlled via a smart device remotely. With this kind of technology, anything is possible.

Here are the incredible things in store for a smart home with the help of IoT.

The Onslaught of Smart Devices

The smart speaker is arguably the niftiest device that you can have in your smart home. It has an integrated virtual assistant that recognizes commands for hands-free activation. It is also a smart device that uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to control almost everything in your smart home.

The Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo is currently the most popular smart speaker in the U.S. with over 31 million users. It offers news and weather reports, plays music from popular streaming services, and helps you with questions that need answers. This is the most versatile device that you can have in your home. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Your smart speaker can be paired with a computer-controlled hub so you can have control on almost every electrical appliance inside your home starting with your lights. You will be able to switch them on and off or dim them as you wish using voice command. You can even change their color if your light bulbs have this feature.

Smart electrical outlets can be plugged right into your regular outlets to give you control on when you want your connected electrical appliances turned on or off. You can also schedule when to activate them.               

Alexa can be hooked up to door locks, garage doors and alarm systems. You can all activate or arm them through Alexa’s voice recognition capability. Even your home’s thermostat can be controlled using voice commands. All these smart devices have taken automation to a whole new level.

Addressing Security and Privacy Issues

We share our digital footprint whenever we use the internet, but with a smart home technology we share our physical footprint. The massive influx of connected devices into homes presents a threat to the system, and this may lead to severe consequences.

And with a lot of manufacturing going on for IoT devices, it feels like the Gold Rush: everyone is in a hurry to get there. The problem is folks are claiming a stake in the area without thinking about security. Security experts have detected unencrypted firmware updates and video streaming from cameras, for instance. There are also communications between servers done in plain text with passwords stored unprotected.

Privacy policies are also an issue. In the case of smart speakers, data is stored from various interactions between the device and the user, which is easily a cybercriminal’s dream. This is the reason why it is now even more imperative to address the security and privacy of all users as the industry takes shape.

Larger Role for Artificial Intelligence

IoT and AI go hand-in-hand for devices to be utilized to its fullest potential. This allows smart machines to simulate intelligent behavior so they can make well-informed decisions with little or no human intervention. With new devices coming out, more advanced AI is going to be integrated, giving the devices more important roles in smart homes.

If you have video surveillance that covers your entire property, this is great for your security. But if AI can be applied to give devices a bigger role, you can have an automated threat detection system that could probably alert a homeowner if something goes wrong. This would revolutionize the whole concept of remote video monitoring.

The future is now here with IoT connectivity set to change many aspects of human life. Smart devices are expected to be integrated into our homes, which can alter our behavior and how we execute tasks. This is the next big step in our progression as a species as we enter another technological revolution.

See how CEP engines, stream processing engines, flow based programming engines and other popular rule-based technologies perform against seven IoT-specific criteria.

Topics:
internet of things ,smart homes ,ai ,security ,privacy

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