There seems to be a bit of a debate about whether or not the smart home is about to catch on. While industry leaders at the IoT World Forum threw up their hands and admitted being “exasperated” about how to connect the Internet of Things, especially when it comes to integrating the deluge of smart home devices, some people were singing a different tune at the recent Z-Wave Alliance Fall Summit.
During a keynote speech, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environment Vice President and Partner Roberta Gamble predicted a company like Z-Wave that’s been in the market for a while will corral smart fridges, air conditioners, and door locks to “all act together seamlessly to provide a connected-life solution.”
There are certainly home hubs coming in to the market that promise to sync everything in the home. The problem right now is that few people have enough smart devices that such hubs are necessary. They may have sprung for a Nest thermostat but haven’t ponied up for connected light bulbs. Presumably we’ll reach a watershed moment in the near future when such hubs are necessary to harmonize everything in our homes, or the devices will simply connect to the Internet via Bluetooth 4.2, eliminating the need for a middleman.
Once all that gets straightened out, the possibilities for the smart home are virtually limitless. In her presentation, Gamble also predicted telehealth will see a big surge in the market.
Right now, telehealth basically means linking up doctors and patients, but as the Baby Boomer population ages, we can expect to see more gadgets in the home related to elders’ health and safety. Whether it’s video conferencing with a physician for a scheduled checkup or diabetics using a tablet to transmit their daily glucose levels, some of this tech is already starting to take off. But it’s not hard to imagine a future where your doctor gets updates on heart rate and weight whenever you step on the sensor-equipped treadmill in your home gym.
2015 is only a month a way, and that’s the year Americans over the age of 65 will outnumber children under five, according to the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio. In order to keep this population healthy and independent for as long as possible, the smart home of the future could have lights that detect movement and track falls, a robot nurse, and sensors that remind homeowners when the stove has been left on. Something it may not include, however, are cameras, as long as privacy trumps all other concerns.
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