Interoperability: The Key to Unlocking the Home of Tomorrow

The smart home, while once a tech mythology, is now a reality thanks to the growing number of connected devices and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things.
By Joe Murphy
Aug 13, 2017

Imagine being welcomed home by—well, by your home. Wireless services, mobile apps and voice assistants enable a level of home automation that readies for your arrival everything from your preferred thermostat setting to the brightness of lighting throughout each room. Your favorite music plays through a Bluetooth-enabled home audio system. Then, the oven turns on to pre-heat your family's dinner. While the house of tomorrow might feel more like something out of a sci-fi movie or a setting reserved only for the rich and famous, tomorrow is now.

The smart home, while once a tech mythology, is now a reality thanks to the growing number of connected devices and the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Consumers across the globe have begun to recognize the convenience and cost-savings benefits that come with transforming their home into a smart home using one or more connected-home devices. In fact, connected-home devices are estimated to grow at a compound annual rate of 67 percent throughout the next five years—much faster than the growth of smartphones or tablets. In total, 1.8 billion units are projected for shipment in 2019, according to a report from Xona Partners.

As disparate home systems—smoke alarms, fire alarm control panels, security equipment and intrusion detection systems, lighting controls, lawn sprinkler systems and smart appliances—are integrated and connected, the possible conveniences, cost savings and new services will only multiply. In just one future scenario, homeowners will be able to control how much they spend on electricity by measuring usage from sensors embedded in light bulbs and appliances.

The benefits of smart-home technologies go beyond only providing convenience and cost-savings while consumers are at home. For example, smart security systems provide peace of mind while homeowners are at work or on vacation, via remote monitoring. And new smart home energy systems are reducing gas and electric bills by adjusting temperature settings based upon whether or not people are in the home. Additionally, ubiquitous wireless services make it possible for connected-home system technologies to now offer conveniences, such as receiving notifications when a garage door has been left open or lawn sprinklers need to be turned off.

But is it too good to be true?

While the smart-home market has captivated some early adopters, it has struggled to reach the mass market. Early adopters are often willing to invest time and effort with new innovations, working through software issues or bugs. The average consumer, however, may not share this view, causing frustration and potentially rejection of new products.

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