When we think of smart homes, we often think of how modern technology has allowed us to take greater control of our multitude of devices in the house from one central nervous system, as well as considering just how things will continue to develop in the years to come. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that smart technology has only really exploded in the past few years, with some current leading devices that seemed impossible as recently as a decade ago. And yet they are not only continuing to wow people, but they are providing a glimpse of what is to come.
For instance, we have Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant which allows for voice commands to operate a system that offers audible information, plays music, setting alarms, providing updates on the likes of weather and sport and completes household tasks. First launched in November 2014, and with sales of over 100 million so far, Alexa has made a huge impact, and has turned the idea of a virtual assistant from a neat household novelty to a must-have item, particularly amongst the 18-30 generation who find it a little quicker and easier to embrace modern equipment. With an accompanied app, Alexa’s capabilities are vast, but because this is still relatively fresh to the market, the potential innovations for Alexa 2.0 are very exciting to consider.
Alongside Alexa, you have Google’s answer to the modern-day virtual assistant, that being Google Home. This is even newer, having only launched in November 2016, and it has quickly established itself as a strong alternative. This encompasses many of the same tasks, but with a link to Google’s range of services such as Chromecast, Google Play and Google Music. With several versions available based on size and cost, and with the group of Home products soon to be renamed Google Nest, this is an infantry stage for Google’s smart software, and given its incredible innovation on so many other platforms, it’s anybody’s guess as to what they will provide us with in the early 2020s and beyond.
And then you have other smart-based technology, some of which are operated via touchscreen apps (like Hive, a British-based connected home device that allows you to manage many machines from one click, with the benefit of being able to do so when you’re not at home), and with others performing via a camera (such as Ring, which allows you to attach a small camera to your doorbell to catch potential thieves, along with other small camera kits that are installed in your home and managed via smart devices), and it’s clear that we are in something of a golden age when it comes to smart technology innovation at home. The best part is that the future of tech is always brighter than the past, so while smart homes in 2019 have reached an unimaginable peak, they will pale in comparison to how the landscape will look in five or ten years’ time. But Alexa, Home, Hive, Ring and others are offering a perfect snapshot of modern smart home technology, and a cool glimpse of what is to come.
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