Ok, maybe all of that isn’t quite ready to hit the market yet, but millions of dollars are going toward making it a reality very soon.
How soon will smart homes be a reality?
Smart homes are already a reality. You probably have some smart component in your home right now. However, that futuristic picture in your mind of the home that calls you by name and offers you hot tea when you get home from a long day isn’t a reality quite yet.
One major thing that’s keeping smart home technology from really taking off is a single system for all home automation. So many companies have skin in the game and everyone is vying for a position. That means lots of operating systems—one app for your thermostat and another for your sound system. Google and Apple have both introduced full home systems but what it will really take is time. Time for the boom to settle down. Time for manufacturers and consumers to find a good fit.
Despite the opportunities for improvement, smart home technology has come a long way. Home automation is much more affordable than it used to be. Some of it is even free. Usability is also vastly improved. Some home automation used to be like a complicated remote control that you could never hope to fully understand. But that’s all changed. 2016 will take us far beyond robot vacuums, smart thermostats, and the Internet of Things as we know it and into the new world.
Which gadgets are available this year?
Garage door openers that can be opened by simply touching your smartphone’s screen are on the market. You can open and close your garage door from anywhere. You’ll soon see systems that will sense when your car is near or when it is in the garage and will automatically open or close. These will work with your existing door as long as it was manufactured after 1993.
These smart thermostats are stars at efficiency. They heat and cool every room of the house with finesse. Many of them are compatible with universal home automation systems. Some models learn your preferences and adjust automatically. You can set them to keep the temperature lower when you are away and turn on before you get home so you can save energy but everything is just right by the time you get home.
That’s right, even your bed can be automated. These mattresses monitor your sleep patterns by checking up on your heart rate, breathing, and movement. It will suggest how you can get a better night’s sleep.
Smart LED light bulbs work similarly to thermostats. They detect when you come into a room and when you leave it for good energy efficiency. We’re not talking about those motion sensor lights that have you waving your arms to turn them back on when you sat still for too long. These sense proximity rather than motion for a smarter interface. They also monitor the amount and type of light in the room and adjust accordingly. Some have color options so you can change the mood with the lighting.
Cook from afar with automated crockpots controlled from your smartphone. You can adjust temperature, time, get reminders, as well as calculating cook time or check progress. Leading brands use more universal systems so you can integrate your crockpot into your total home automation.
These go beyond keyless entry locks. They work when you get near with your smartphone or the key fob in your pocket or purse. You can send a “key” digitally to anyone with the app. Or you can reassign or remove keys if needed. You can also keep the keys for all the other smart locks in your life in one app. Many brands have built locks that work in tandem with other smart gadgets for a whole home system.