Just like any consumer technology, home automation devices have a definitive life cycle before they become obsolete or seriously outdated. New developments in manufacturing, circuitry, firmware and software; enable devices to evolve past their predecessors at a rapid pace.
Devices have become significantly more intelligent, quick, and prices have come down as well. Able to accept more complex commands than ever before; home automation devices are really entering the mainstream, being integrated with everything from watches to microwaves.
2017 was quite the indicator of home automation tech popularity as sales of home automation products hit record highs, and pop culture was flooded with references to smart home devices. Following these devices popularity, has come higher expectations from consumers and their desire for the next big innovations in the industry.
With this motivation to satisfy current home automation consumers and attract new ones, manufacturers are focusing even more on increasing convenience, comfort, and compatibility in smart home devices. If you are planning on converting to a smarthome, there are a few things to consider to ensure you are on the leading edge of home automation technology.
User Friendly Features
No matter how advanced a device is and what amazing things it can do, it is useless if it not user friendly to consumers of all types. Not every consumer is going to be a tech savvy early adopter; in fact many people might be fairly new to smart technology. In order for manufacturers have a successful product, they must make it appealing and most importantly, easy to use across all skill levels. This is where user friendly interfaces and features come into play. Two of the most emergent user friendly features over the last year illustrate where trends are headed:
One of the most innovative and wildly popular tech trends in the last few years is the emergence of voice controlled devices. Only a decade ago, voice activated devices were still the stuff of science fiction movies. Now, with our systems built around Control4 hubs that integrate voice controlled devices; that is a normal part of everyday life. With voice controlled devices it is easy for consumers of all backgrounds to speak commands that can do everything from call your mom on her birthday, to turning on the sprinklers outside. While voice control initially seemed a mere novelty when first introduced, it has now blossomed into a legitimate solution to making home automation easy to use for everyone. Total Home Technology has installed many Control4 based systems that use voice control for all of their functions and the learning curve is very small because of the feature.
When we speak of artificial intelligence, we don’t mean embellishing your GPA and qualifications on a resume to get that new job. No, artificial intelligence is what is bridging the gap between programming of a device and the end user. Rather than having to program a device to behave a certain way, advances in microprocessors and other technology has allowed devices to learn and think on their own.
No, this doesn’t mean that your devices are suddenly going to become self-aware and turn into The Terminator; what it means is, that it has the ability to learn your habits and preferences. Devices like smart thermostats compile usage data and can learn that you like the temperature at 75° during the day, but at night you want it a bit lower; and will automatically adjust without you having to do it.
Other products such as surveillance cameras are implementing the technology as well, using that power to enable facial recognition to recognize authorized residents as well as unlock doors with smart locks. As the technology progresses it will even be able to use biometrics and announce who has just entered the home and notify you via smartphone, something especially useful for working parents.
Security Is Key
While these devices have become commonplace in the home and often always listening or watching in some cases; one of the main concerns for many consumers is the security we may give up for these conveniences. The newest trend in devices being offered for home automation are robust cybersecurity features to thwart would be hackers.
While you want your devices to talk to each other in your home and remember settings, user info, and other useful data; what you don’t want is the outside world getting that data. Control4 and other manufacturers have addressed that concern by adding extra layers of intricate cybersecurity in all new devices. Newer devices are making it easy to let you decide how your device communicates over the internet and some will even notify you of any attempts to compromise your devices.
Compatibility Makes It All Come Together
Unfortunately, when you have a budding technology such as home automation and connected systems; many devices are like two toddlers with one toy, they just don’t play well together. It is very important that in a home automation environment, all of your devices are natively compatible with each other. For example, over the years home networking equipment, Wi-Fi routers and modems specifically have struggled to keep up with smart home technology. Since these devices require constant connectivity, it was a real drain on bandwidth and routers just weren’t designed for that much usage at once. Now, router technology has advanced to accommodate these demands for bandwidth and even offer smart tech specific features.
As router manufacturers had to bear in mind the needs of these devices, so do other devices need to be able to interface with other devices to complete a home automation system. Your Control4 hub needs to be compatible with your thermostat which needs to be compatible with your smartphone, etc. When all of your devices are compatible and can communicate with each other; it can come together to create a very easy to use, robust, and comprehensive solution to managing your home.
Manage Your Home With Total Home Technology
Whether you want to make the switch to home automation for the first time, or if you just want to upgrade your system, we have the solutions that fit your needs. We serve the needs of projects large and small and can create a customized system for your home that will make your life easier. Contact us today!