This article originally ran in HuffPost UK on September 14, 2017.
The term ‘smart’ has become part of our collective tech vocabulary and we take it for granted that smart devices, homes, classrooms and offices will have innovative technology inside of them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a part of that ‘smart.’ Whether it’s digital health apps and devices like AI-enabled blood glucose meters that remind users to test after a workout is complete, or a home alarm system that knows not to engage motion sensors when the user is heading to bed, we are living with AI all around us.
Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be approximately 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices. IDC says that by 2025, there will be 80 billion devices connected to the internet with the value of that market predicted to be $564 billion by 2022.
All these devices rolling into your home need to do more than just make it smart, they need to make your home intelligent. They need to be intuitive enough to understand not only your lifestyle, but the individual moments in your life that impact decisions, and offer the right level of assistance, security and privacy. To be truly intelligent, IoT devices and apps need to have user aware AI.
AI in The Smart Home is Not a Future Tech, It’s a Now Tech.
Intelligent AI in smart home devices should be able to transform raw sensor data from your phone and connected device into a pattern of behavior that is meaningful to the consumer.
AI in devices that has learned your habits can start to predict the experience that matches your needs in a given moment. So, for example, if everyone has left the house it knows not to turn on the lights. Or if you drive off to work, it will turn down the thermostat; and if everyone is out of the house, it knows to lock the doors.
Intelligent AI in smart home devices is the ultimate matchmaker. AI-fueled personalization, not historical usage, can make your home more in tune with how you live your life, particularly in the areas of security, energy and savings, and comfort and entertainment.
Let’s Talk Security
When it comes to the security of your home, you don’t want a one size fits all. You want to know that your smart camera, smart door locks and smart security system know your patterns of behavior so they can secure your home intelligently.
A door that locks behind you after a few seconds of closing it seems like a smart invention. But what happens if you go outside to mow the lawn and realize you’re locked out because that smart lock blindly locked the door? Sure, you can switch off the automatic door lock, but what if you forget to switch it back on when you go to sleep? Suddenly, you find your smart device requires a lot of interaction to keep it working, which doesn’t make it seem smart any more.
By comparison, user aware smart locks, fueled by AI, are capable of knowing that you just stepped outside to mow the lawn or get the mail and not lock the house.
Energy and Savings, the New Black
From smart power plugs, smart lights and smart thermostats, if your devices adapt to your daily lives and not the other way around, they can increase your savings by conserving energy.
User aware smart thermostats, for example, do much more than control your environment based on historical usage. When it senses you’re driving home from the office, it can turn the lights on or adjust the heating. Smart fans that are user aware know you went out for a run and turned down the fan, only to turn it back up before you return so you enter a cool house.
The Reason We’re All Here: Comfort and Entertainment
From your music and window blinds to voice assistants and coffee machines, these devices have the ability to make our lives more enjoyable and easier.
Wifi home stereo systems like Sonos, Bose and Sony’s SongPal can be more than just your music machine. By becoming attuned to your daily routines or morning patterns of behavior, it can cue up a playlist or podcast based on when you are waking.
Smart blinds are another example of how user awareness changes the smart home game. Say you moved from the west side of your house to the south side which has more light. User aware smart blinds would lower the blinds in the south facing room with full sun as you entered the room, helping you save on energy and money.
The way you interact with your smart home can be the difference between devices that enjoy can’t-live-without status, or devices that end up in the back corner of the closet where you keep the holiday wrapping paper.