Today, there are roughly 10 billion devices connected to the internet including smartphones, tablets, computers, wearables, and assorted, ephemeral devices. According to ABI Research, a technology market intelligence company, that number will be reach an estimated 30 billion by the year 2020. This clearly means a world of change for every industry imaginable, and for none more so than the Hardware Industry. With the rise of the Smarthome as a centerpiece of this increasingly connected world and the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas fast approaching (May 5th-7th, 2015), this subject is certain to be a major focus for its attendees.
In any discussion of the Internet of Things (IoT), or the web of interconnected and internet-connected devices, there is inevitably mention of the aforementioned Smarthome, where the benefits include security, convenience, cost-savings, and entertainment. Imagine a home where everything that was once a manual chore, such as making dinner or doing laundry or vacuuming, suddenly made infinitely easier through the use of your smartphone or tablet as a remote control. Already, we are seeing evidence of this reality rapidly approaching.
And yet home automation has essentially been around for years. Think of remote-controlled audio/video components and simple appliance control for early examples of this now booming trend. In a way, it is the technology world at large that is just now catching on to a trend that was incubating in the average suburban home for over decades. At present, however, that trend can be seen in much more advanced and complex products than the consumer was used to with simple appliance control.
The market has taken to smart thermostats, for example. Representative of the IoT trend, the Nest Thermostat can be controlled from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet, learns your preferences and how to save energy throughout the day, save up to 20 percent on your energy costs, and creates detailed logs on temperature changes, potential and realized savings, and how your preferences affect those numbers.
As offices are the homes of businesses, the savings that comes along with IoT technology has been an hot topic of late. Motion sensors in every room, each connected to a building’s lighting, have been saving companies’ energy costs for several years by turning lights on when people enter a room and off when they leave. Security cameras that have been keeping businesses safe for years are now more advanced and their feeds can be viewed by any authorized employee with a smartphone or tablet. Those same security cameras are now entering homes and blessing homeowners with peace of mind as they go on long vacations or during just another trip to the store. Smartphone-controlled door locks do the same thing, eliminating those nagging thoughts about the possibility were left unlocked.
If when you start to imagine these advances in your own home the possibilities seem endless, that’s because they essentially are, and perhaps more amazing is their proximity to our reality. With more and more major companies investing their money in the production of Smarthome-related products, expect the Smarthome to become even smarter and more affordable over the next several years.