With smart home systems and the “Internet of Things” breaking into mainstream use, leading touchscreen developer Zytronic noodle on some of the tech trends we can expect to see in our homes in the near future.
- 50% of UK residents aged 16+ now own a smart speaker, up from 20% in 2019.
- The number of smart devices in homes is predicted to almost double by 2025.
- The latest ElectroglaZ™ technology creates the possibility of sleek new designer furniture such as glass bedside tables that can wirelessly charge your phone and other devices.
- All new UK homes built from 2022 onwards will be required to have electric vehicle charging, with more electric cars bought in the UK in 2021 than in the past 5 years combined.
- The proportion of the UK workforce that are hybrid working has risen from 13% in February 2022 to 24% by May 2022, with manufacturers of hybrid working tech thriving as a result.
- Home security system innovations include Amazon’s Astro, a security robot that roams around the home, as well as AI alarm systems that use contextual information to call emergency services or detect a false fire alarm.
- 28% of adults use sleep tracking apps, with wristbands and under-mattress sensors also available to help track sleep patterns.
- Smart homes are also being designed to allow ageing in place, including smart pill dispensers, video check-ins with friends and family and real-time availability of healthcare support built in.
Top Tech Trends in the Home …
Until recent years, the idea of the “smart home” was something limited to tech conventions and proof of concepts. However, the growing affordability of this technology, combined with the soaring popularity of home improvement trends as a result of lockdown and increased home working, means that smart home technology is quickly catching on.
Interconnected Smart Devices
The idea of standalone smart home devices is becoming increasingly outdated as we slowly move towards an “Internet of Things” future, wherein everything in our home is part of a single digital infrastructure.
2022 has seen larger steps than ever in this regard, as everything from lights, entertainment, heating, security and appliances become connected to our smart speakers and smart devices. Although systems like these have largely been used by early adopters and tech enthusiasts thus far, smart home technology is now reaching mainstream levels.
50% of UK residents aged 16+ now own a smart speaker, up from 20% in 2019, whilst more than four in ten adults use smart technology to work the television. With this comes a drive in wider smart “ecosystems”. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Google are all pushing smart speakers – not only as a single product – but also as a gateway to their other linked smart services. For example, in 2020, Google offered a free Nest Mini smart speaker to all Spotify Premium users as part of its effort to gain a further foothold in the smart ecosystem market.
These growth trends are only set to continue moving forward, with the number of smart home devices predicted to almost double by 2025, rising to 13.5 billion devices.
Smart home integrations are starting to extend beyond our portable devices and speakers and into everyday furniture. From glass tables that wirelessly charge your smartphone to home sofas that provide an immersive 4D motion experience when consuming games and movies, smart technology is filtering down to every aspect of home life. We’ve even seen the introduction of permissions-based door locks which integrate fingerprint scammers and smartphone authentication.
The launch of new consumer technologies like Zytronic’s ElectroglaZ, which allows for transparent power delivery through a pane of glass, opens even further possibilities down the line for furniture applications in homes. Ian Crosby, Sales & Marketing Director at Zytronic, commented: “ElectroglaZ is completely transparent and can be used to ‘magically’ power a near-limitless variety of low power, electronic and electrotechnical devices embedded within a glass panel. Potential smart-furniture applications include everything from ‘floating’ lighting systems to glass room dividers featuring embedded hub screens, speakers or fans.”
Garages of the Future
With the news that self-driving cars could be legal on UK roads by 2025, the British driving experience is on the brink of change. The British car industry is already within a state of flux, with Britons purchased more electric cars in 2021 than the past 5 years combined.
This shift in driving trends is already impacting home design, with all homes built from 2022 onwards legally required to have electric vehicle charging points. Meanwhile, more and more existing homes are incorporating garages and parking setups that accommodate self-driving experiences, such as vehicle charging points and garage doors that open as they sense your vehicle approaching home.
Home Office Setups
The working from home model adopted during the pandemic looks to continue for many businesses despite restrictions lifting. For example, 24% of UK businesses plan to use increased homeworking going forward, whilst 30% of people feel they are more productive and engaged working from home as opposed to an office environment.
As a result, the tech industry around working from home is booming. Home office technology such as smart water bottles that track your water intake, motorised desks that move from standing to sitting modes and smart posture training tools to remind you not to slouch at your home desk are fast gaining popularity as the working from home and hybrid work models look to be here for the long term.
The launch of Amazon’s Astro, a small roving camera bot for the home, promises users a helpful hand around the home and much more. The device’s facial recognition system, advanced navigation and obstacle avoidance system make it the perfect home security measure; Astro will autonomously patrol your home and investigate unusual events through motion and sound detection. As well as accounting for factors such as the sound of breaking glass or a fire alarm, Astro can also be used to check whether you turned off the oven or locked the front door.
Meanwhile, Alarm.com’s Ambient Insights uses AI to recognise contextual information in the event of an alarm. The system uses this data to alert emergency services in the event of a fire, reducing the chances of a false alarm or unnecessary dispatch of emergency services by allowing users time to cancel an alarm if the system believes the alarm has been set off in error.
Sleep tech is quickly becoming the next big thing when it comes to health tracking. 28% of adults are using mobile phones to track their sleep, helping regulate sleeping cycles and promote better sleeping habits. However, the market has long outgrown smartphone applications, with everything from wearable wristbands and rings to under-mattress sensors available to help users track their sleep.
The ability of smart homes to monitor and assist with health also extends to “ageing in place” and assisting vulnerable people who live alone. From allowing family members to video call and check in on their relatives to providing users with live physiotherapist sessions or smart pill dispensers, smart technology is rapidly enabling new levels of confidence in independent living.
It’s an exciting time for home technology as the category evolves faster than ever and new developments bring greater convenience, comfort and efficiency to our lives. Smart home adoption is increasing at a breakneck pace, and brings with it a vast range of exciting innovations – which are you most excited about?