This story was originally published on Builder.
Today’s consumers take care of their homes by upkeep, yard work, and cleaning. But tomorrow’s homes will take care of their owners, according experts interviewed on a new podcast, fulfilling residents’ needs before they’re even expressed.
In Predicting Our Future, host Andrew Weinreich explores industries that are ripe for disruption. In the final episode of a series on smart homes, he interviews Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) experts to predict where smart home capabilities are headed.
“Think of artificial intelligence as computing power that is able to perform particularly complex tasks that you would otherwise think would require a human brain to perform,” Weinreich says. “A motion sensor might trigger a light to turn on. But if a home had artificial intelligence, it might consider the time of day, the person walking around the home, and where she was walking in deciding which light to turn on and how long to keep it on for.”
For example, smart home devices on the market today can be manually configured according to a user’s preferences and routines. Down the road, artificially intelligent home systems may be able to distinguish between residents, intuit their individual needs, and fulfill them without being commanded or controlled.
IoT expert John Barrett says that these technologies “will know what I want perhaps even before I know it.” For example, smart home networks may integrate with a resident’s schedule to wake them at an ideal window in their sleep cycle, just after the coffee has finished brewing, in a temperature and lighting setting that takes into account their internal temperature and blood pressure.
Every smart living scenario the podcast presents revolves around “personas,” a user’s individual settings that are stored in the cloud. Podcast contributors, including experts from Amazon, GE Lighting, and Lutron, say smart home devices will eventually be able to recognize an individual and modify a home’s settings according to his or her persona, even before they walk through the door.
Scott Harkins, vice president of IoT partner programs at Honeywell says home technologies aren’t far from being able to recognize the resident who is arriving home, unlock the door, set the lighting and temperature how that resident prefers it for cooking, destressing, sleeping, and other activities. According to the contributors, this kind of contextual awareness of the individual and their activities around the home is laying the groundwork for true artificial intelligence.
While a host of companies race to advance their smart home devices and systems, Weinreich says creating the smart home of the future is a collective effort. He describes a smart home “ecosystem” in which the success of each company hinges on every device working with each other. In his words, the “holy grail” they’re after is a smart home driven by AI.
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