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Smart Home Evolution

Smart Home is a networked collaboration of technology and services for improved living. A smart home allows the entire house to be automated, making routine tasks in the house easier and more convenient. This technology enables all electronic gadgets to function as ‘smart’ devices. Almost all electronic gadgets will benefit from this technology in the near future, thanks to home networks and the internet. Many people regard this technology solely as a networking tool. Others believe that smart home technology will lessen their workload, but it is a combination of both and much more. Smart home technology is being incorporated throughout the house, with a focus on the kitchen and living area. In general, smart homes provide consumers with security, comfort, and energy management features, as well as additional benefits for disabled people.

The Evolution of Smart Home

In stages, the whole vision of smart home services will be fulfilled. Embedded connectivity is currently only seen in a few high-end household gadgets. Connectivity will become prevalent and a part of practically all household devices at some time in the future. As shown below, smart home services will go through at least three distinct stages of market development:

Stage 1: Standalone Connected Devices

The following are the primary characteristics of this stage:

  • The ability of various standalone devices to connect to the service provider’s back-end systems and the Internet;
  • Different devices have their own control and interface functions.

Monitoring and management of isolated devices will be the end-game in many situations: In underdeveloped nations, for example, there may be minimal demand for rather expensive HEM systems, therefore utilities will continue to build smart metres and use them for a variety of demand response and demand side management services. Some utilities are hesitant to allow interconnection between their smart metres and consumer-controlled devices, preferring instead to limit access to smart metre data. Similarly, some health monitoring gadgets will not be able to connect to other home systems due to regulatory restrictions. However, interconnection would help the vast majority of smart house vertical solutions.

Stage 2: Service Silos That Are Connected

The following are the primary characteristics of this stage:

  • Device connectivity and data management are managed by dedicated control hubs for each vertical.
  • Due to data sharing and limited point-to-point connectivity between devices, a relatively complex variety of service options exists.

At this point, a wide range of devices in the home, ranging from entertainment to energy management to security to health and wellness, will have some level of IT capabilities to support smart services. Some of these gadgets will have complementary purposes, bolstering the case for smart home services convergence. Consumers will welcome being able to view and control their home gadgets from a single “My Home” location as they use an increasing number of linked services. Improved functionality may be possible as a result of tighter integration: For example, for better care management, an assisted living facility could combine data from remote medical sensors with readings from utility appliances. Similarly, service providers may wish to save money on linked gear or enable greater data integration in order to provide new services or a better user experience. Consumers have traditionally been hesitant to pay big premiums for home automation services. Finding a service “leader” for the smart home will be critical, since this will create end-user pull for other services. Broadband and security services are two of the most obvious options for such service leaders. As part of home management and monitoring packages, home security monitoring is already bundled with home energy services. Broadband service providers, on the other hand, are investigating the concept of a partitioned home gateway, which can supply end-users with broadband internet connectivity while also allowing a utility supplier to give home energy management services through the same hub.

Stage 3: Smart Home Integration

The following are the primary characteristics of this stage:

  • Data sharing across various smart home devices and systems;
  • The availability of a single mobile-enabled home gateway or integration point that can support a variety of smart home applications.

The construction of an environment where data from many application areas may be merged to give a richer set of smart home services is a significant characteristic of this stage. These services could be application-specific, such as total energy management. They could also be support services, such as a centralised control point for defining security and access control policies across different home devices. It’s becoming clear that fully integrated smart home services may provide significant value to both consumers and companies. They aid in the delivery of a higher quality of life for the former and the efficiency of business operations for the latter. However, in addition to the numerous opportunities, the creation of an integrated smart home faces a number of problems. Consumer benefits, such as cost savings and personal privacy, must be conveyed in a way that earns their trust, and technological standards must be designed to facilitate interoperable and scalable solutions.

Tricom is a smart automation solution provider headquartered in Singapore.

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