Smarter homes require smarter technologies

June 21, 2018 // By Simon Forrest
The 1960s television sitcom ‘The Jetsons’ featured an early depiction of a smart home: conveniences included Rosie the robot housekeeper, video chatting, and food available at the touch of a button. There was also an aerocar so that the main character George Jetson could commute to his job, where he worked for one hour a day, two days a week.

Over fifty years on, the true smart home – a seamlessly connected space in which our needs are anticipated, our lives are made easier and healthier, and our carbon footprint is reduced – is still some way in the future. But today’s explosion of technological innovation and AI in particular, is enabling companies to deliver more and more elements of what will ultimately comprise the smart home.

According to an October 2017 report from The NPD Group1, 15 percent of U.S. households own a home automation device, up from 10 percent in April 2016. NPD reported strong growth across all types of devices, with security and monitoring representing the largest share of dollar sales, and product categories such as video doorbells and smart lighting also growing quickly.

NPD also reported that ownership of voice-activated wireless speakers (e.g. Amazon Echo and Google Home) had more than tripled over the year, totaling 10 percent of U.S. households at the time of the report.

Smarter homes require smarter technologies

Building on this foundation, many new devices are entering the market to offer increased efficiencies for our home lives.

One of the most highly anticipated (and possibly feared) innovations is the robot. Already Roomba and other robotic vacuums are helping many people keep their floors free of debris; and robotic lawn mowers, while not yet affordable enough for mass adoption, are already on sale. According to a 2018 report by Juniper Research, domestic aide robotics like the Roomba will drive consumer robotics hardware revenues from an estimated $6.4 billion in 2018 to nearly $23 billion by 2022; an increase of over 250%.

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