What Tech to Expect on Homes of the Future (Some Are Already Here!)
The 1989 movie “Back to the Future” was not only a blockbuster hit at the time, but also eerily predicted several technology applications that have become commonplace in our digital era. In the film, flat screen televisions are prominent in the home, and Marty McFly uses Zoom-like technology to converse with his business partner through a flat screen television. Though these technologies may have seemed far-fetched at that moment in time, today there are ubiquitous in almost every home in the United States. Perhaps flying cars such as those in Back to the Future aren’t too far away after all.
With the pace of technological development and innovation quickening every year, we probably will not have to wait three decades to see many types of futuristic technologies eventually make their way into our society and eventually into our homes. Below, we take a quick look at some of those futuristic, sci-fi type technologies that you can expect to be part of the smart home revolution in the years to come.
How Machine Learning will Impact Smart Home Gadgets
Much of the development of smart home technology is dependent on machine learning, which refers to the use and development of computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data.
According to one recent scientific paper, “machine learning and data mining are used to make a normal home automation system to be Smart Home Automation System. It also predicts the behavior of the user. Machine learning is similar to data mining with executable structures that can be applied to new data in order to predict future data.”
For example, consider the difference between a programmable thermostat and a smart thermostat. Whereas a programmable thermostat requires the user to input data about when they want their HVAC unit to power down or power up, a smart thermostat includes some variety of self-learning and intelligent features. These can include the use of local weather forecast reports, or the ability to learn from the occupants’ day-to-day routine to change your HVAC settings.
As machine learning advances, homeowners can expect more “intelligent” smart home gadgets. For example, a smart home alarm clock may be connected to your personal calendar or schedule. Even if you forgot about an important work meeting early in the morning, your smart alarm clock may go off at 5:00 AM to remind you of those commitments we tend to forget. Similarly, a smart home watering system may automatically shut itself off when it predicts rainfall in the immediate future, or when humidity sensors in the soil determine that more irrigation is unnecessary.
Machine learning technology adapted to smart home gadgets will also be dependent on an increased number of sensors strategically placed throughout the home. The front door to your home may automatically unlock and open when biometric sensors determine that one of the predetermined occupants of the home is approaching the front porch. Similarly, these sensors may lock the door, sound the alarm, and alert the authorities when unauthorized people approach the home without a valid reason.
Sensors placed throughout a home interior will also increase the functionality of smart home technology. For example, a motion sensor that detects that you are walking towards the bathroom at 6:00 am on a Monday morning can turn on the bathroom light, and may be able to start up the shower to your preferred temperature so that all you have to do is undress and step into the shower.
Lastly, smart home speakers will continue to play a major role in the futuristic smart home. One recent study found that 35 percent of Americans aged 18 or older now own a smart speaker. In the near future, nearly imperceptible microphones will most likely be located throughout the home, allowing you to “speak” to your home and command it to do certain things from every room.
Health Applications of the Future Smart Home
Many of these futuristic technologies for our homes may seem like elaborate ways to improve our comfort levels. There are, however, more practical applications for coming smart home technologies. In the areas of health and wellbeing, several smart home technologies are in the works to help individuals improve their health outcomes. Some potential health applications for future smart home technology may include:
- Instruments placed in medicine cabinets to remind people to take their prescription medicines on time.
- Sensors and cameras in refrigerators and pantries that recommend healthier and more nutritious food choices. These same sensors may also be incorporated into other areas of the kitchen to help with the preparation of more nutritious and healthier meals.
- Sensors and devices may also be placed in our toilets and/or bathroom sinks to check for any potential health problems that are detectable in human waste, essentially giving you an automated home laboratory.
- Mirrors placed in bathrooms and bedrooms that have the ability to analyze your skin health and even detect stress levels. If this seems overly futuristic, the Themis Smart Mirror is close to market ready, and comes with several sensors such as a camera, an IR temperature sensor, and UV skin analysis light that can check on health parameters and offer recommendations for improved health outcomes.
Increased Control, Comfort, and Ease through Robotics
Besides an increase in the utility and functionality of smart home gadgets, homeowners should also expect more robotics in their homes in the coming years. Back in 2018, there were already well over 14 million households that relied on robotic vacuum cleaners. In the near future, there will be probably much more advanced robotic applications for the home.
In the kitchen, for example, several companies are already experimenting with robotic kitchen assistants who can help you prepare meals, wash the dishes, and more. When connected to your favorite recipe website, these personal robot chefs may be able to come up with some pretty innovative meals. To assuage fears about giving a kitchen knife to a robot, these devices will also include several cameras to avoid accidents. Large chain restaurants like Chipotle Grill are already testing kitchen robots to help streamline their services.
Robots may also play a major role in improving the health and security of your home. One company recently revealed a prototype for a smart home robot that incorporates several cameras and sensors. As this robot wanders throughout your home, it can detect uninvited intruders, identify potentially harmful VOCs and other contaminants affecting your indoor air quality, and even play babysitter for your favorite pet.
Improvements on Existing Home Energy Efficiency
Lastly, future developments in smart home technology should also help homeowners improve the energy efficiency and overall sustainability of the home. In recent years, there has been an explosion of home technology designed to reduce household water usage, maximize the efficiency of our HVAC systems, and reduce overall energy consumption from lighting, appliances, and other power-consuming devices. Homeowners should expect further developments in these areas.
Furthermore, smart home technology will also begin to connect all of these individual technologies into a wider network aimed at reducing the overall environmental footprint of the home. For example, in the near future smart homes should benefit from a whole house energy audit system that will allow homeowners to set a monthly (or weekly) energy budget. The system will be able to alert you when you are coming close to passing your monthly energy budget, and suggest ways to reduce your energy consumption.
As these whole home energy audit systems progress, there may be built-in smart components that automatically make the necessary adjustments and reductions to ensure that your home stays within its energy budget. As net-zero home construction progresses, these systems may also be tethered to your home´s solar panels or other types of renewable energy systems.
How Conrado Home Builders Can Help You with your Smart Home Design
Hiring Conrado Home Builders for your custom home build or luxury remodel means that you will benefit from the accumulated experience and expertise of our building teams. We will help you analyze all of the best smart home products and new technologies that can be implemented into your custom home estate. We pride ourselves on building high-quality homes built with the future in mind. Incorporating the latest technologies is an integral part of that mission.
Furthermore, our building teams have direct experience implementing the green building techniques, technologies, and practices, and we can help you determine how smart home technologies can reduce your home´s ecological footprint while simultaneously increasing your comfort levels. We have decades of experience in helping homeowners in Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley, Woodside, and Atherton create carbon zero and even carbon positive homes. We are also continually educating ourselves about the latest technologies on the market.
When you hire Conrado Home Builders, we will also help you find ways to ensure that your smart home technology does not infringe on your personal security or privacy. We can help you create a smart home that also respects the security of all your connected devices.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you design and build the best home for you and your family.