What Does the Future Hold for Home Automation?
Will it Be a Jetsons Utopia or an AI Nightmare?
While the current generation of kids may not know the Jetsons, it left a lasting impression on those that watched the cartoon in the 1960s and in many years of syndication after that. It promised a world of flying cars, robots, holograms, drones, and video calls. Guess what? We have all of those today, sans the flying cars. If we can get the coming generation of self-driving cars to run on real streets without crashing into each other, perhaps they can take flight next.
If the imagination behind the Jetsons was a portent of things to come, then what do the next 50 years hold for the future of home automation in Atlanta and around the world? Braced with the knowledge we have today, and given some of what we’ve seen in technology the past few years, we’re going to make some fearless prognostications about the next few years. Perhaps in a couple of years, we'll circle back and see what we got right and wrong!
You are probably familiar with some level of robots already. Roomba smart vacuums can intelligently roam around a room and vacuum up pet hair or the cereal from the kids' breakfast that somehow ended up on the floor. Perhaps another "robot" that no one thinks of as robots are smart voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can ask them all manner of questions and get answers, mostly useful and sometimes questionable. They can also be very efficient at home automation tasks like managing lights, showing you who is at your door, playing any music on demand, and much more. Perhaps most importantly, all you have to do is ask them in your native language to do these things.
The biggest driver in robotic automation is machine learning and artificial intelligence. Incredible advances in processing power in devices coupled with the sheer number-crunching and vast data stores in cloud data centers have enabled these types of breakthroughs - and it's only going to accelerate. The next big thing with robots? One promise is in helping an aging population maintain health. The same cameras and software that are now used mostly for security can detect things like differences in posture and movement, remind people that they haven’t taken their medications or exercised, and much more. If it seems a little like “Big Brother,” we already live in a world where smartphones track our every move. The technology can and will be a huge aid; it just needs to be applied thoughtfully and correctly.
If George Jetson could tell his toaster to make toast, all we need is the power of today's smart assistants and a connected toaster to make that a reality. And indeed, that is what is happening. GHT Group designs and installs sophisticated home automation systems that manage lighting, motorized shading, climate control, security, audio, and video systems, and more. We see appliances in the mix in the very near future. Most major appliance manufacturers already are making connected models, whether it's something as simple as telling you a dryer load is done to a refrigerator that can tell you what food you need to get at the supermarket - or simply order it when you need it. While some of this may seem almost frivolous at first, when the software gets more sophisticated in tying things together in novel ways, you will wonder how you ever did without it.
One of the promises of artificial intelligence is learning your habits and preferences. In some ways, we have some sophisticated things in that area, and some not so intelligent algorithms. Does Spotify or Apple Music know to recommend precisely what you're in the mood to listen to at a given moment? Or does it give you variations on the music you've been listening to over the past two weeks? Sometimes it's uncannily good, and other times, amazingly inept.
If you use various systems enough, the algorithms will get it mostly right, but the technology is tantalizingly close but not quite there yet. What might it mean for home automation? For example, when you get home after work, your favorite music will be playing, the lights will be just the way you like, and the temperature will be perfect, without you programming a thing or uttering anything to a smart speaker. What’s more, these things will happen by the AI software knowing how the sun hits the side of your house at particular times of day, how packed your schedule was (or not), and whether your commute was choked with traffic or a pleasant drive. Your “robot” will just know much more about your day, what mood you’re likely to be in, and what you’ll want. At GHT Group, we’re pretty excited about this future of home automation.
Getting back to the here and now, there’s no need to wait to get into home automation solutions even George Jetson might envy. GHT Group works with the industry’s leading solutions like Crestron, Control4, and Lutron. Give us a call or click below to quickly connect with one of our audio-video experts. We look forward to working with you!