The Jetsons was right. In the early 60s, they showed us a world with 3-D holograms, smartwatches, personal robots in every home and kitchens that prepared food. After nearly 60 years of innovation, the smart home has become a reality (sort of). So, what’s next?
Technology is changing the relationship we have with our homes and here at Notion we’re constantly trying to learn what will benefit people the most. Here’s are some predictions for the connected home space in 2018 and beyond:
IoT Will Move Out Of Beta
The reality is that today, the home IoT industry is operating in a “public beta.” The general consumer is still getting a grasp on different products and isn’t yet able to fully understand the various platform and integration options. What’s exciting is that this leaves the door open for anyone, from the Amazons and Googles to early-stage startups, to dive in and claim users.
These trials are allowing technology companies to get a better understanding of their products’ roles in the home and determine the benefits that consumers will reap from their installation and ongoing use. Integrations between products and platform are shedding light on consumer preferences, and voice control is making in-home Internet of Things (IoT) products more approachable and easy for everyone to use. The industry is starting to understand that what will win is making technology that solves real problems, is easy to install and use and blends into how we live our lives.
We’ll Continue To See A Shift Toward Industry Standards
We essentially don’t have different wifi options — Wi-Fi is Wi-Fi. It works the same at home, in a coffee shop or in the airport. In the same vein, we’ll continue to see a push to standardize IoT networks.I see this evolving similarly to video — think Beta vs. VHS vs. DVD vs. cloud streaming offerings. The difference here is that the cost of technology is low and demand is growing. This means a faster set of solutions will emerge (we’ve already seen hardware standards like Thread, LoRa and Z-Wave that take into account both a consumer’s desire for optionality and a company’s desire for expansion).
There won’t be a good standard in 2018, but the industry will continue to take steps in this direction. Since each IoT device works differently, we won’t see a single consumer standard in the next five years, but I do believe there will be fewer and better options that help the industry to offer better connectivity, longer battery life and less expensive products.
A Fully Automated Smart Home Isn’t The End-All Goal
We often think of a future smart home as one that does nearly everything for us at the click of a button — make our food, do our laundry, clean up after us. While some of this may come, what individual families will want their home to do for them will be different.
We don’t all have an Apple Watch. We won’t all want smart light switches. We won’t all need a connected garage door opener. That’s why utility will remain in many of the things our homes already have.
The goal for the industry shouldn’t be complete automation and complete control; it should be focusing on the most critical problems and desires of consumers and creating better experiences through technology.
It’s an exhilarating time to be part of the smart home ecosystem. If you want to disrupt this new and exciting space, your vision has to go further than a physical product. There will be winners and there will be losers. The losers will be the ones that don’t interact with or pay attention to what their customers want and need. The winners will attack a real problem that exists for people in their homes or in their daily lives. If we can continue to have this focus as an industry, I’m sure we’ll build an even better smart home than George Jetson ever imagined!
This is a condensed version of a piece our CEO and co-founder, Brett, recently published on Forbes. Check out the full story here.