Gurumukh Uttamchandani, Executive Director, SYSKA Group
Technology today has evolved to such an extent that there’s a meaningful collaboration between humans and machines, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once a concept suitable for sci-fi novels and movies, AI has come a long way and brands have adopted the technology to enrich our lives further. AI is nothing but systems that use machine learning algorithms and deep learning to understand patterns and act accordingly to accomplish things that we thought only we humans could do.
Every person today is assisted by some AI technology or the other. Be it Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, AI is present in our everyday lives. The technology is forcing companies to upgrade their business model to compete with new players. As a result of all this, smart homes have become a popular concept today. Smart homes give you the ultimate power to control your home (and office) and manage it the way you like.
Earlier considered a topic for sci-fi movies, today you can make a pot of your favorite morning coffee from anywhere using your smart device. Such is the power of AI and smart homes. From voice-controlled smart speakers like Amazon Echo to smart lighting, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) are completely redefining our way of life. You needn’t even get up from the bed to adjust the blinds anymore if you have synced it with mobile apps.
Home automation is a booming market today with the US in the lead and Japan and Germany following close behind. According to the global smart home market, the market size would reach a value of more than 40 billion US dollars by 2020. This is good news for tech giants and investors who are investing a lot into this flourishing market.
The real estate sector has undergone a huge change because of technological developments. Builders are incorporating innovative solutions into their properties. With smart cities becoming popular in India, the day is not far when we have properties equipped with smart solutions. However, in a developing nation like India, such properties would be considered too luxurious and it would take some time for the adaptation to take place. People would accept and migrate to it at a slower pace. The home automation is growing expeditiously but due to the lack of awareness, it might take some time for our countrymen to provide a strong foothold for it.
The home appliance industry is not too far behind when it comes to adopting innovative and smart solutions. There have been various smart appliances entering the market to make our lives easier and more convenient. Smart fridges, speakers, lighting, air conditioners and even smart toilets have been brought to the market to let people live a smart, connected life.
Some of the smart solutions for households include WiFi systems that connect the entire household, smart security systems that provide inputs to you on the go, voice-activated smart home systems like Amazon Echo that lets you control many functions of your house remotely, smart lighting solutions and smart kitchen appliances and devices. The availability of all these smart systems is proof enough that our homes are going to be taken over by AI and IoT for good.
Voice-controlled smart home assistants like Alexa make it easier for a person to control anything around the house. “Alexa, switch on the light. Alexa, adjust the temperature of the AC” are common statements that one would hear if they have integrated Alexa with their smart lighting and cooling appliances at home. One can even book a cab or play some music by just talking to the smart assistant. Thanks to AI and machine learning, speech recognition has improved by leaps and bounds.
Smart lighting solutions enable one to switch off the lights without getting off the bed. A dream come true when you crash on the bed after a tiring day and do not want to get off it to turn the lights off. You can now dim lights or totally turn them off through your mobile without the need to get up. These smart lighting solutions also sense human presence and turn on the lights when you enter the home or a room and turn them off when you leave. Also, these lighting solutions are way more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts and also last longer. However, the only downside is they are expensive. But why not, they help reduce our electricity bills so one need not worry about the one-time investment at the beginning that would make life a lot easier and lighter on the pocket as well.
Smart air conditioners are no longer a thing of our dreams. There are electronic forks to keep track of what you are eating while on a diet for weight loss. IoT has made culinary life simpler and neat as compared to earlier. Thanks to IoT and its smart kitchen appliances, we need not worry about burning our dinner while we are away from the kitchen. There are intelligent ovens too to take care of our kitchens while we are away. What else do we need in life than someone (or something) to take care of all these mundane details in our hectic lives?
Advancement in the technological field has happened at lightning speed over the past few years, resulting in a new market segment full of products and services that would have been considered way too futuristic even a decade ago. The consumers have also lapped up these technological advancements with equal enthusiasm resulting in a tech-savvy consumer who wants to communicate with his/her home and appliances and transfer some of his/her household duties off his/her shoulders to someone (or something) reliable and trustworthy, being well in his/her control.
The consumer can now afford to be a tad bit less responsible with all this tech backing him/her up which is customizable according to the consumer’s lifestyle and preferences. Making the home smarter has become easier today with tailor-made appliances that can be customized. Also, these appliances have been designed in such a way that not only the tech-savvy but even those who are not comfortable with tech can easily adapt to it.
Smart homes and appliances do come at a hefty price but rest assured that it is just a one-time cost, for they are far more energy-efficient than their conventional counterparts and help save a lot on your electricity bill in the long run. The future looks bright for smart home appliances and with more players entering this segment of the market, these appliances are sure to get more affordable and mainstream in the near future.