Ready for a smarter home?

They say the home is where the heart is and while that is likely true for posterity, the very essence of what makes up a home has evolved over the years. With a slew of new gadgets and devices flooding our lives, most modern homes are now a hotbed of technology, designed to place our convenience and comfort above all else.  

The main factor driving this change has been the scorching pace at which new technologies and ideas have gained mass acceptance. For instance, it took the telephone 75 years to reach 50 million users, while the radio needed 38 years – however, the internet achieved that feat in just four years. Putting all of that to shame was the wildly successful 2016 game ‘Pokemon Go’ which acquired 50 million users in a mere 19 days. 

Clearly, the ubiquity of connected devices has drastically shrunk adaption times and we are on the verge of disruptive technologies invading our homes in the near future. Even though we have close to 30 billion connected devices all over the world, the smart home market is still in its infancy with less than 1% penetration and a heavy concentration of revenues in the US. 

However, it must be said that India has embraced the smart home movement albeit mostly from a security standpoint with high-end apartments already carrying security cameras, automated garage doors and biometric enabled entry into homes. 

With security in place, the next level of adaption is going to be driven by convenience and comfort. Let’s go ahead and build out a few use-cases that cover the entire spectrum of what everyday life in a smart home would look like for a typical urban-day working couple.

What’s cooking in a smart home?

Our modern-day lives require us to juggle multiple priorities and forgetting about what’s cooking in the kitchen can be a common occurrence. Normally, such an oversight could be very hazardous but in a smart, secure and connected home, things turn out a bit differently. When smoke is initially detected the alarm sends information to a nearby gateway which is connected to the CPI layer and the gateway transmits the sensor information to the cloud. Once the fire is detected, the thermostats and other electrical items are automatically switched off and certain disaster is averted.

Leave the door open for possibilities, not intruders 

Forgetting to lock your home could be an open invitation for burglars to make away with a small fortune. But in a smart home, cloud-based IoT digital door locks can ward off a break-in through a control board embedded into the lock which is connected to the home owner’s mobile phone. If the control board detects a physical impact or tampering with the door lock (signs of forced entry), it notifies your mobile, and the security camera captures an image of the intruder. 

In the absence of any forced entry, the control board detects that the door is open for more than a stipulated time, sends you a notification, waits for your approval, and safely closes the door. 

Count your calories and your blessings

While it’s perfectly natural to slack off a little and gorge on your favorite treats, more people across the world are now interested in living a healthy and balanced life. However, counting calories can be quite cumbersome and usually ends up taking second place to life’s priorities.

But in a smart and connected home, calorie intake and calories burnt can be monitored by wearables. Based on your fitness goals and calorie intake, you can set a specific count for the week, and the most ideal meal plan would be suggested to you. You can also track pulse rate, breath rate and emotional wellbeing with emotion sensing mood bracelets.

What’s a smart home without smart parents?

The advent of nuclear families has necessitated a smart style of parenting that involves both partners taking a hands-on approach. Especially with newborns, a phase of life that can be challenging to first time parents, a sophisticated ecosystem of machines can ensure parents are constantly aware of the wellbeing of their toddlers. 

At its core, the system has a smart hub that ties together a range of devices. Apart from IoT enabled Wi-Fi cameras, the set-up kit comprises of windows and door sensors, that can notify you of changes in temperature or of certain sounds produced through a smart home app. The same system can work equally well in case of senior citizens who need monitoring or medical supervision. 

A look ahead

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the catalyst of the smart-home revolution and is driving unprecedented growth. With an estimated 50 billion connected devices by 2020, we are looking at a future where all our important day-to-day decisions are going to be made with the richness of information captured by the ecosystem around us. 

Our homes, more than ever, are going to play a crucial role in us leading an enriched, balanced and productive life!

(The writer is Associate Director, Marketing– Product Engineering Services at Happiest Minds)

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