Our homes are quickly getting smarter. From smart meters helping us to better manage our energy output to smart security cameras monitoring possible criminal activity, the internet of things is quickly being built around us. By 2024, 47% and 27% of households will own a smart security and monitoring device in North America and Western Europe. This year’s global pandemic has also catalysed the use of smart devices in the home, given we are spending more time there due to stringent lockdown measures. Whilst the smart home ecosystem is evolving, driven by continuous improvements in device interoperability and advancements in technology, we are some way off the homes of the future often depicted in Hollywood movies, dystopian or not, becoming the norm. Despite this, we can expect significant advancements in the way smart home devices operate around us in the coming years.
One of the key changes we can expect in the next five years is visual platforms being increasingly used to enhance our experience in the home. For instance, we will start being able to perceive being in different environments within our home. This will be driven by improvements in mixed and augmented reality. We also anticipate that the functionality of voice assistants will vastly improve, moving away from the current command and control to a more meaningful and conversational experience. This will lead to an increased use in voice assistants but also new use cases emerging for voice-assistant-enabled devices.
Technological developments in both vision and voice will lead to a more ambient intelligent user experience where the smart home will become both immersive and invisible, and we will interact with it more naturally. This will mean technology working for us and we will move away from technology-literate people to people-literate technology.
We also anticipate a number of new use cases entering the smart home in the coming years. Right now, the use cases are specific to a few areas, including home improvements and convenience, security as well as energy control. Moving forward, we are likely to see assisted living and the electrical vehicles ecosystem become more integrated within the smart home. For assisted living, smart solutions are still an offshoot of what is offered by smart security firms, but we do expect passive and remote monitoring, audible and visual reminders as well as telehealth to become more prevalent in the coming years, especially given that the global pandemic fast-tracked the need for a number of these solutions.
Moreover, we anticipate electrical vehicles will have a significant impact on the smart home, given the exponential rise of electrical vehicles and the impact this will have on the grid. This will become more pertinent as we move from conventional to smart grids. As the smart home and electrical vehicles converge, there will be ample opportunity for collaboration between firms on both sides.