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Nearly a decade ago, I worked with several large companies across the US as they adopted new and efficient technologies within their facilities. Years later, it’s interesting to see smart solutions finally migrating over to the world of residential design. Today I’m excited to share several ways you can incorporate smart technology into your home in 2020.
It’s undeniable that the explosive growth of user interfaces (Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Samsung’s SmartThings Hub) have led us to a point where DIY smart home systems will soon be mainstream. In fact, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports that the number of U.S. smart homes is already predicted to grow to as much as 28% by 2021. And we can only anticipate a snowball effect from there.
So, what are the top trends when it comes to smart home technology for this year and beyond? 2020 will bring an increased focus on safety and security, privacy, comfort, seamless product integration and more intuitive technology. In addition, we’ll see a continued focus on green living to address growing wellness and environmental concerns.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Today’s technology allows us online access to everything from smart door locks to exterior security cameras and smart alarm systems. When it comes to safety, smart smoke detectors are designed to send homeowners alerts in the event of an emergency or if the batteries need changing. This technology will expand to HVAC systems, furnaces, water heaters, and electrical boxes to ideally get ahead of an issue before it results in excess cost and damage.
Smart plugs can easily prevent electrical fires in case of overload, or when something is accidentally left plugged in. They let you turn on or off any device plugged into them (think automatic morning coffee and space heating). As a bonus, they also let you monitor your device’s energy usage through the plug itself.
In the event of an emergency, technology is taking things beyond mechanized smoke alarms. We’ll soon see the ability to program a calm motherly voice recording to guide children safely outside and add flashing lights to a home’s exterior to help both residents and authorities in the event of a fire.
Many smart home devices have a dedicated vacation mode feature built in. These settings can make a residence appear occupied by repeating historical data even while you’re on vacation or working late.
There’s an even greater focus on smart thermostats to smart lighting systems; driven by both their money-saving capabilities and their easy-to-use reputations. Daylight harvesting systems dim electric lights in response to daylight availability and therefore help to save on energy consumption. Overall, smart lighting solutions conveniently improve home safety and security. They can even control color temperature to impact the overall ambiance of a space.
Another trend I mentioned here on the blog back in 2018 is water related technology. As live plant wall cultivation and residential spas, smart showers and steam rooms continue to rise in popularity, we’ll also see advancements in leak detection, water purification, and water conservation and management.
Smart furniture has arrived and is on the rise in 2020. The Sleep Number Bed not only sends you daily reports on your sleep but can also provide notifications on when a child is sick. European sofa designers are currently working to develop smart sofas that can be adjusted for comfort simply by way of an app.
Remaining in your own home as you get older is what we Designers call, “Aging in Place.” Today’s technology will allow us to better support our loved ones; allowing prolonged independence, safety, and a more affordable option as compared to assisted living situations. So what are some solutions to look out for in this arena?
Things like floor tiles with sensors to monitor when loved ones get out of bed out of their normal routine, task-based robots that handle household chores (think self-sufficient vacuum or automatic bread maker), and internet-connected appliances such as refrigerators, televisions and vacuum cleaners. The idea is for them to work more seamlessly together —with less required human interaction.
Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee Alliance announced last month the launch of an initiative to create more synergy and connectivity between various smart home products.
The rise of 5G will bring faster speeds on our devices and effectively improve how we stream media. The addition of artificial intelligence will allow for our homes to take care of us, instead of the other way around. Keep an eye open for smart home appliances powered by AI. They’re able to make relevant recommendations on everyday matters such as grocery list creation, accurately weighing and cleaning laundry based on soil level, and orchestrating appropriate cook times among other tasks. This past year, The LG Smart Home Convention presented TVs that analyze and optimize source content, adjust brightness according to room lighting, optimize sound and listen and act on consumers’ command.
Smart wardrobes can help you organize clothes and toiletries and alert you for replacement whenever you run out of something. They could even help you to choose an outfit, hairstyle, and makeup look. No doubt AI will deliver a convenient and personalized experience as we move into the future.
I’m proud to be partnered with some of the area’s best tradespeople who specialize in home theater services. Lately, we’re seeing a lot around smart living room layouts with hidden TVs that take the form of art pieces or mirrors. A great example of this is “The Frame” by Samsung. In 2020, a new trend will be high-resolution projectors hidden in the ceiling that materialize with either a voice command or the click of a button.
My favorite way to avoid interrupting the flow of your room’s décor is to install In-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Today’s level of sound clarity also allows you to enjoy the same experience tonally regardless of where you’re sitting in the room. Integrated lighting can activate overhead lights to lower just as soon as you press “play”. And lastly, everything can be simplified with a single remote that controls everything from the projector, sound, and lighting.
Don’t be surprised if you start to see virtual reality take a step into the residential space. The addition of VR could potentially eliminate the need for a TV or used wall space in the future.
SMART HOME 2020
In 2020, many home buyers will expect homes to have at least some smart capabilities; those that lend energy savings and reduce a home’s carbon footprint will be in the highest demand overall. The general population is adopting smart home technology at an exponential rate.
As adaptation to new technology grows, we’ll see a quicker adoption of technology in the home that’s much more mainstream than perhaps we can even imagine today. The easiest way to incorporate smart home technology in the early construction stage. However, you can also choose to retrofit your existing home, start small, and upgrade over time as the technology supports you and your lifestyle.