Where is Smart Tech Going as We Approach 2020?

While you might have a fully automated home packed with smart home devices that all play nicely together, smart home tech is still relatively young.

Combine this infancy with the warp speed at which technology continues to develop, and it’s an exciting time for you, the consumer.

So, as we edge ever closer toward that fabled 2020, how is smart home tech likely to develop in the imminent future?

Today, we’ll briefly touch on some of the directions in which smart tech is moving. We’ll jump straight in with 5G and how it will impact the Internet of Things.

5G for Smart
Devices

Last week we drilled down on the current state of play with
5G. This new generation of wireless comms will be a game-changer in far more ways
than previous iterations.

How will 5G impact the smart home, though?

There’s a disconnect with the Internet of Things in its
current incarnation.

Most of these things have
no connection to the Internet at all.
The IoT is fragmented due to weak WiFi, a lack of uniform protocols and the
restrictions of LTE.

A uniform, energy-saving standard would improve user
experience substantially so how might 5G plug that gap?

Previous wireless standards, from WiFi and Bluetooth LE to Zigbee and Z-Wave
all come with limitations, and there’s also that lack of uniformity muddling
things further. Interoperability could be vastly improved, as anyone who’s
struggled with matching up different devices knows only too well.

5G, on the other hand, could allow devices to communicate with each other directly while addressing issues of range and latency that different blight standards. Incompatibility would also be a thing of the past.

So, it remains to be seen if this high-bandwidth,
low-latency network will deliver a more seamless smart home experience. We feel
it has great potential, but there’s still the severe issue of power consumption
to negotiate.

We predict that in the short term, 5G will start by
improving the general performance of smart devices but a real paradigm shift is
not likely to occur in the next year or two. Let’s face it. We still need to
get 5G fully up and running on our phones first!

More Practical
Robot Solutions in The Home

We took a look into LG’s CLOi range, getting broader and
deeper all the time.These robots are now deployed in South Korea’s Incheon airport while many use cases are developing for the hospitality industry. What about robots solutions in the smart home, though?

While they might not look like the robotic helpers touted in sci-fi movies. Robotic vacuums, and lawnmowers and already thoroughly entrenched in our homes.

Although 2019 is not going to be the year lifelike robots
penetrate our homes en masse, there’s likely to be an essential move away from
single-usage products toward more multi-tasking solutions.

The continuing evolution of digital assistants has laid firm foundations for the human interface capabilities required to ensure robots are intuitive, useful and user-friendly. AI and machine-learning are also soaring ever-onward.

From mobile robotic solutions like Temi, a tablet on wheels, to the innovations LG are bringing about with CLOi. The time is ripe for robots to start helping you more. From family-friendly and fun social solutions through home monitoring these devices and robots will help with smart home integration. Expect things to step up a gear on the robot front over the coming year.

WiFi 6 To Combat
Congestion

What is WiFi 6 and why should you care?

Formally expressed as 802.11ax, this new standard in
wireless connectivity brings far more than a boost in speed to the table.

If you have a large family all multiple toting devices and a
stable of smart home tech, chances are your WiFi network is congested even if
you’ve invested in a mesh system and
you have respectable speeds and coverage.

WiFi 6 boasts two advantages beyond raw pace salient for the
smart home of 2019:

  • The ability to handle competing requests for bandwidth far more efficiently and intelligently
  • A dramatic improvement in battery life for devices through the enhanced range and swifter data transmission

The number of devices per household shows no sign of
diminishing, and this new wireless standard will add a vital extra layer of
security to your smart home with the WPA3 protocol while also reducing
congestion.

Expect far more benefits in your connected home than a
simple pick-up in speed with WiFi 6.

Wireless
Charging

While both Samsung and Apple have rolled out “wireless charging,” there’s a hitch and a reason we used those quotation marks.

The technology behind inductive charging has been around for
a couple of decades, and you need two surfaces both touching each other for it
to work and is not the same as wireless charging even if there’s no cord
involved.

Wi-Charge, on the other
hand, uses a safe and invisible light to charge your smartphone across a room
but the implications extend beyond this and into your connected home in
general.

Are you suffering from the twin bugbears of insufficient
power outlets and batteries in smart devices continually crying out for
replacement? If so, this FDA-approved solution could enable you to use far more
IoT devices with much less hassle.

We’re eager to see how the tech underpinning wireless
charging can pivot into providing a superior smart home experience.

Entirely New Use
Cases

One of the difficulties of making predictions with
technology is the way utterly new use cases tend to crop up unexpectedly and
change the game seismically.

For you, the consumer, this is not a problem but a world of
exciting possibilities.

From appliance diagnostics to improved energy conservation,
the tech in our homes is becoming ever more extensive.

As we edge toward 2020, expect the unexpected.

The Continued
Development of AI

The smart speaker wars are still in full swing with the
underlying AI-powered digital assistants the core reason most consumers invest.

As voice recognition gets ever smarter, it’s natural to assume
you’ll soon be able to give more complex instructions and offload more tasks to
your faithful virtual butler.

AI is likely to take an increasingly pro-active role in
security and surveillance systems with threat detection and alerts becoming
more personalized.

There’s also the way AI will push on concerning the robots
we mentioned, too. There’s also the issue of virtual reality and augmented
reality which we’ll touch on below.

Artificial intelligence is one area where it’s tough to call
what will happen next. What we can safely say is that AI will continue to
permeate the smart home in more helpful and in broader ways as we move toward
2020. With AI baked into almost everything, you soon won’t need to be too smart
to use smart home tech.

A Shift From Platform
Lock-In to Cross-Compatibility

One of our high hopes for the near future is an increasing emphasis on cross-compatibility.

It’s natural and also understandable for manufacturers to want to lock you into their ecosystem. For you, the consumer, it’s a tiresome affair when you need to agonize over compatibility in a massively fragmented market with clashing protocols and lock-ins spoiling the user experience.

How smart brands play nicely together needs to improve, and
we expect to see a greater focus on compatibility than closed systems. After
all, it’s also valuable for manufacturers if you can use their devices with
more devices from other brands you already have in place. For you as the
connected homeowner, broadened cross-compatibility will make your buying
decisions that much more relaxed and offer you a more excellent choice into the
bargain.

Smart Home Tech
Migrating Into the Workplace and Beyond

With smart homes more the norm than the exception now, our expectations outside the house become more ambitious.

5G, once fully deployed and more mature, will have enormous
ramifications for smarter cities.

More and more offices will start adopting smart technology
throughout replicating the convenience you have at home in the workplace.

Many companies already embrace the energy-saving and
cost-efficient technologies like smart lighting.  As we explored recently, improved lighting
can lead to an upswing in your mental
health and productivity at work
benefiting you as well as the employer.

A migration of tech from home to workplace to city-wide tech
is already fully underway and only set to expand aggressively.

Continued Rise
of Smart Health Care

With life expectancy increasing worldwide and healthcare
costs sky-high, the time is ripe for disruption in healthcare.

Wearables are offering more and more insight into your
overall health and are set to skyrocket as smart watches and wristbands become
more penetrating in their diagnostic abilities. The new Apple Watch, as we
investigated recently, is ECG-enabled.

There is likely to be a continued focus on smart health care
for the elderly so you won’t need to worry about leaving your aging parents
unattended.

Digital healthcare options from Chatbot technology fuelled
by AI to telemedicine will soon start changing the traditional healthcare
landscape skewing it more in your favor.

Augmented
Reality

Over the past few years, virtual reality (VR) has garnered
most press with augmented reality (AR) rising stealthily in its wake.

VR has a relatively narrow range of applications,
though.

AR, on the other hands, doesn’t call out for headsets so
expect AR technologies to become more commonplace on mobile devices. Expect to
see an explosion in AR apps.

If anything goes wrong with your smart home gear, you’ll be
able to enjoy more fruitful dialogues with providers and customer care as AR
keeps on evolving.

Once the preserve of video gaming and gimmicks, R+ (an
umbrella term for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality) will
start to have much more practical use cases with no need for that hulking
headset.

A Saturated
Smart Phone Market

Have you become less and less inclined to upgrade your
smartphone?

Setting aside novelties like the advent of folding phones
that’s now upon us, it’s been some time since a new handset offered anything
particularly valuable or radically different from the one you already own.

It’s telling that Apple
will stop reporting iPhone sales
and indicative of a slow-down to the point
of market saturation with smartphones in general.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri reiterated the company’s core
objective to make outstanding products and services “that enrich people’s
lives.” He added that sales units of phones are no longer so relevant for the
Cupertino giant given the “breadth of our portfolio.”

With Huawei falling out of favor with the west and the price
of line-topping cell phones now breaching $2000, we predict a continued
stagnation in smartphones.

Until that is, the next unexpected technological advance
brings us something more universally appealing than a folding screen.

Kitchens and
Bathrooms Getting Smarter

Kitchens and bathrooms are both areas of the connected home
that haven’t taken off quite as rapidly as others.

More and more kitchen appliances, though, are becoming smarter. From scales hooked up to recipe apps, smart fridges, crockpots, and induction cookers, there’s plenty already in place. We looked at some of the best smart kitchen appliances right here, and we’re confident more and more voice-enabled devices will take the sting out of meal prep and cooking as we approach 2020.

Kohler’s
Konnect range
is not cheap but offers a comprehensive solution for
smartening up your bathroom with everything from heated toilets and smart
showers to voice-activated mirrors and perfect fill tubs.

When you think about how much time you spend in the kitchen
and the bathroom, streamlining and automating the experience is the next
logical step. If you haven’t started already and you’re stuck for ideas, here
are ten
ways to smarten up your bathroom
.

More Foldables

With Samsung’s Fold jostling for position with Huawei’s Mate
X, folding phones are now a reality. Apple is also reportedly investigating
this form factor for upcoming handsets.

Expect folding technology to take a detour into TVs, laptops, and tablets as it gains more currency and increased adoption.

While these developments are not likely to hit the shelves in the coming year, we’re sure to see an increase in foldable devices by 2020 so how do you see this technology moving forwards? Is it something you’re even interested in and how will those folding screens hold up to extended and potentially rough handling?

These questions are still to be answered, but the future looks rosy for foldable as of right now.

Will There Be a
Global Security Breach?

With all these exciting new developments, one white elephant
remains in the room.

Will, there will a full-scale and global security breach?

We’re not here to whip up a frenzy or scaremonger. The thing
is, with a flurry of Facebook scandals, a growing mistrust of Huawei in terms
of security, more smart devices than ever and more data being shared, the issue
of cybersecurity is becoming more relevant for the average consumer than ever
before.

While sharing our digital footprint can lead to many apparent
advantages in terms of convenience, how about sharing our physical footprint
with smart home tech?

Hackers are getting smarter, 5G will open new avenues for
those with ill intentions, and some form of a security breach is almost
inevitable.

Rather than panicking, check out our upcoming piece on the security risk of Internet of Things
devices and how to fight back
. Be proactive and take sensible precautions.

Beyond that, the onus falls firmly on manufacturers to keep
doing their part and to focus on security more now than ever before.

Final Word

What do you think about our trend predictions for smart home tech from 2019 to 2020?

We’ve tried to stick firmly to developments highly probable
to gain significant traction rather than veering into the more ambitious and
hopeful.

One thing is sure: the coming year will be an exciting time
for you, the consumer. We’ll continue to bring you all the latest smart home news, and we’ve got some
outstanding new products to explore for you, too. So, bookmark this blog and
come back soon!

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The post Where is Smart Tech Going as We Approach 2020? appeared first on Smarthome Blog.

Reference: Smart Home