The Future of Smart Homes

The Digital Transformation

The world is at the forefront of the second machine age. For the first time in history, we have technologies that understand our speech, carry out our wishes, and report back to us.Underpinning these technologies have been an exponential improvement in computational power, memory and storage capacity, bandwidth, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), and the immense amount of digital information now available.

On the domestic front, the digital revolution has fuelled an exciting new phase in the home automation industry. Soon our living spaces will be enhanced by a host of new devices and technologies performing a range of household functions.

Connected homes will alter the family dynamic as less time will be spent on menial household chores. Two years from now, our living spaces will become interconnected with increased use in smart lighting, the ability to raise and lower blinds, turn on appliances, and set the thermostat at the touch of a smartphone.

In five years, numerous tools and devices in the home will be affected such as exhaust fans that will automatically turn on to address rising steam levels, fridges that can keep track of what’s inside and within a decade and monitor use-by dates to avoid wastage and help you write shopping lists, and appliances that adjust the temperature as your dinner cooks and app-driven door entry systems.

In a decade, an intelligent and coordinated ecosystem of software and devices, that can manage and perform household tasks, and adapt their behaviour to the inhabitants of a house based on observing and then replicating their habits, will become the norm.

We need to plan for the impact the digital world will have on our communities and homes in the infrastructure decisions we make today. Today’s mindful purchaser expects their connectivity needs are met today, but are also met for future requirements.

For smart homes to be the norm, faster speeds and higher bandwidth capacity is required. Developers need to consider infrastructure that provides a platform for change and supports the disruptive digital transformations that are set to change the way we live. 

The world is at the forefront of the second machine age.

For the first time in history, we have technologies that understand our speech, carry out our wishes, and report back to us.

Connected Homes

The technology that allows us to program lights or switch on air conditioning from your phone is best described as a “connected home”. The technology driving connected homes are IoTs which is the term for any physical object, that wouldn’t usually be generally expected to have an internet connection, that can communicate with the network independently of human action. Examples include security cameras, blinds, lights and fridges.

IoTs are making the world around us smarter and more responsive, merging the digital and physical universes. Globally, an estimated 127 new devices connect to the Internet every second and the IoT industry is only going to get bigger. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) could have an annual economic impact of up to $11.1 trillion by 2025.

IoTs are not just about shiny gadgets, there’s a more serious side to their use. IoTs also have the potential to save energy consumption by cutting heating and electricity costs. They may be able to help keep older people independent, remain active, and live in their own homes longer.

Smart Homes

The term “smart” gets misused a fair amount when it comes to home technology. Smart homes refer to computers or devices that make use of machine learning – technologies that are capable of thinking, making decisions and learning, better known as Artificial intelligence (AI).

Almost half of Australian households have begun the smart tech journey in the home, with internet-connected voice assistant devices and smart speakers like the Amazon Echo with Alexa, Apple HomePod and Google Home. In the smart home of the future, AI platforms could serve as the brain for entire homes, learning about residents and coordinating and automating various smart gadgets.

AI-driven technology, such as facial recognition, will become a feature of home security systems, homes will have sensors that check for issues like water damage, pest infestation, harmful emissions, and alerting owners to any potential problems before they become far costlier to manage. Smart homes of the future will also have built in health checks for humans too such as sensors in toilets could have the ability to check health conditions by scanning human waste before it’s flushed.

Robots

Robots too have a role to play in the smart home of the future. Technological developments will drive robotic technology well beyond what’s available today such as furniture that changes from a bed to a desk, or a and smart robotic arm that can dice vegetables, and help clean up.

While many consumers are not quite ready to live with a walking, talking robot, one segment in which robotic capabilities have been useful is aging-in-place or assisted living. Homecare robots are the current pacesetters for consumer adoption and smart home integration.

Home robots can drastically improve quality of life for older people, those with chronic illnesses and other mobility issues by helping them carry out day-to-day activities such as washing clothes, using the bathroom, cleaning up, as well as assisting them to remain active, and stay socially connected. By 2024, ABI Research forecasts some 79 million homes around the world to have a robot in the house.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR is about putting people inside virtual environments and is still most common in the gaming industry and those environments are increasingly becoming more intelligent. By 2021, it’s projected that 2.7 billion people, about one-third of the global population, will be gamers.

VR is also expanding into entertainment and professional sporting events where fans who want to experience the game but aren’t at the stadium allowing fans to choose their digital seats and move around the field to see the game from different vantage points – using virtual headsets in their living rooms.

AR bridges the digital and physical worlds. AR uses a headset or other screen through which the real world is still visible and overlays digital objects on it. While AR applications today depend on smartphones or tablets, they will soon expand outside the confines of a smaller screen into wearable devices.

The emergence of greater numbers of AR and VR tools will change the way we consume content. It will be a catalyst for stimulating more creativity and experiences amongst consumers and businesses alike.

Both AR and VR applications can be very sensitive to network performance. They need low latency, high reliability and high bandwidth. Any interruption can have a significant negative impact on user experience. Existing bandwidths can’t currently cope with these emerging technologies, particularly when many users in the same area try to access online services at the same time it can lead to network congestion.

How LBNCo is pathing the way for future technology

Faster networks don’t simply mean a quicker transfer of data between devices, or between devices and the cloud. It also means sophisticated applications that utilize bigger and faster data streams, become a possibility. The faster the speed, the better access to data and processing resources in the cloud. It also allows for far more devices to be connected simultaneously.

Larger bandwidth allocations are necessary to enable higher data transfer rates, increased data capacity, and much lower latency. As so much data moves across the network, fibre optic technologies will enable the current cable infrastructure to manage increased internet traffic far into the future — saving energy and cost, while doubling capacity.

LBNCo Fibre GPON fibre optic infrastructure is designed to run at a 1000MB capacity for future requirements. We provide a cutting edge 1GB speed solution today, with 10GB upgrade path designed in our solutions, mitigating the need for any foreseeable future upgrades. Our FTTH network can support internet plans up to 1000/500Mbps today and limitless speeds in the future. Our network is capable of supporting internet plans up to 1000/500Mbps. 

Our fibre optic cables are also designated solely to your development alone, it does not support other residential, commercial or retail network demands and therefore avoids network congestion or bottlenecks. LBNCo fibre solutions integrate building automation services, such as IP Access Controls, MATV/Foxtel, and CCTV security cameras, over the one infrastructure installation, therefore, avoiding the need for separate infrastructures installations and outdated copper networks. We also have redundancy built into our scope to mitigate against network interruptions.