Technology is rapidly expanding into the realm of artificial intelligence and full automation. Gadgets that were considered items of science fiction mere years ago, have become commonplace. This is no truer than in the development of smart homes.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple are investing billions into developing technology along this vein. There is huge market potential in IoT as consumers change the way they purchase, focussing on automation that simplifies their existence.
With this in mind, let’s look at five smart devices that your smart home couldn’t possibly do without in 2017.
1. Google Home
Google Home is a voice activated smart speaker powered by Google Assistant. It has machine learning capabilities and uses these to learn preferences and recommend actions. It taps in to the power of Google, using Maps, Translate and Search giving you the information you require. In a combination of natural language processing, machine learning and voice recognition software, Google Home accommodates natural interaction and integrates AI seamlessly into your smart home.
It can be used for entertainment purposes, managing everyday tasks and asking Google for information. Its ability to filter speech from noise outclasses the rest, according to Google. It has a Wi-Fi speaker thus can stream music or video directly from the cloud or with Google Cast support and can control other connected speakers in the home.
Furthermore, Google Home can act as a smart home hub, controlling all other IoT devices through Assistant, allowing you to set alarms, manage schedules and control smart lights, doors and thermostats. Google home accesses Ask Google for answers to any questions you may have, and utilizes the machine learning capability of Google Assistant to allows follow up questions seamlessly. Because it is capable of complex compound questions, with the various support services, exact questioning is not necessary. For example, asking Google to “play the Rihanna song from Home” will result in the correct song, despite not knowing the song name. This essentially adds context to questions and draws inferences and suggests responses based on learned preferences.
Google Home effortlessly integrates into your daily functions in an almost human way with its natural language capabilities. It handles the complexities of life with aplomb rendering it an essential addition to the 2017 smart home.
2. The Botvac D85
Who doesn’t need this in their lives? A robotic vacuum cleaner, for example the Neato Robotics Botvac D85, is a small, autonomous appliance that uses a LaserSmart Mapping and Navigation system to map the room, plan the route and methodically clean the area. It has sophisticated suction technology and precision brushing system that leaves surfaces immaculate. It even has a “CornerClever” system allowing the gadget to get into difficult to reach corners.
Its patented laser-guided technology is where the money is. This allows the device to scan and map the room, detecting any objects in the way. The cleaning can be scheduled in advance or spot cleaning triggered by simply pushing a button. The recent release of the Connected Series of Botvac allows integration with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, meaning you can activate it with the sound of your voice.
3. Nest Learning Thermostat
The constant quest to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly triggered the development of this smart tech thermostat. The Nest Learning Thermostat utilizes machine learning capabilities to acquire your habits and temperature preferences to manage the central heating.
It can help you use less energy by automatically switching off when you are not there and ultimately save you money on heating bills. The Department of Energy suggests that heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems account for approximately half the energy consumption in the home, thus it bodes well to control this aspect where possible.
Nest programs itself by learning behaviour patterns and desired temperatures for certain times and eventualities and builds an automatic schedule for the HVAC. This can be controlled through whichever smart hub is governing the home.
4. The Smarter iKettle 2.0
Imagine never having to wait for the kettle to boil again? This is possible with the iKettle 2.0 Wi-Fi kettle. This appliance is able to be controlled from a smartphone through an application, which apprises you of water level and water temperature. It can be scheduled to boil making mornings and night time formula preparations easier. It can also use your phone’s location to trigger the kettle to boil automatically when you get home.
5. Smart lightbulbs
Any techie worth his salt should have these in their home. There are various brands on the market today and function quite well and are relatively easy to automate. Smart lightbulbs use less energy and can be remotely managed from a smartphone or connected to your home hub.
Connectivity can be achieved through an application or through the cloud, allowing scheduling and integration with the smart home. They can be set to automatically illuminate under certain conditions, for example when someone walks into a room or a particular light level.
These technological smart home innovations seek to simplify life and help manage mundane day to day tasks. Home automation allows perpetual control over your immediate environment, often utilizing machine learning to apply preferences making you as comfortable as possible.
Now is the time to upgrade your home to “smart” status. There is a large range of products and digital interfaces on the market at the moment, all designed to make your life easier. So for both experienced machine learning experts and those tinkering with the idea of AI, the time is ripe for the implementing the smart home.
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