With a larger percentage of the population staying at home more than ever before, home renovations and improvements are on the rise. One major trend in this field is the emergence of smart homes. Today on the Bright Ideas series by Acuity Brands®, Catherine Bruce is joined by Jeff Spencer, Vice President of Smart and Connected Devices, to discuss how smart home products have changed modern living over the past decade… and are continuing to evolve even now.
THE RISE OF SMART HOMES IS TOO HUGE TO IGNORE.
Smart homes started to become mainstream after Amazon launched their Alexa voice assistant platform in 2014 and Google launched the Google Home platform in 2016. According to Jeff, their adoption rate is far outpacing the adoption of LEDs or controls in the lighting industry. Not only that, but they’re also surpassing the rate at which smartphones in general were adopted after they were first introduced in 2007.
There are five primary value propositions that attract users to smart homes:
- Home Automation
- Health & Wellness
It’s not hard to recognize the appeal of home automation through voice assistants: users can control any electrical device in their house by voice, or by app from anywhere in the world. Lights or sprinklers can turn on and off, and the thermostat can adjust– which can improve customer savings by conserving resources.
Home security can also be controlled through these applications. Entrances can lock and unlock; garage doors can open and close; and burglar alarms, smoke detectors, or other sensors can all be integrated to announce comings and goings.
Routines also offer enhanced entertainment value. These schedules or scenes can be programmed into home assistants. When a user says, “Alexa, it’s time for dinner,” the lights in the dining room might change to a particular brightness or warmness. Music might come on. Blinds might open or close. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
Compared to multiple preparations like turning on speakers and flipping on lights, with smart homes a single voice command could enact dozens of different actions at once.
Additionally, smart home lights can be programmed to adjust for residents’ circadian rhythms: they can start off warm in the morning, cool towards midday, then warm in the evening again. No-touch controls mean there is less need to frequently disinfect or interact with high-touch services like locks or light switches.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON SMART HOME TRENDS
Since the outbreak, homes have immediately become more central to people’s lives. The residential market has seen a shift as some people are moving from the city to the suburbs now that remote work is more accepted. Health and wellness have become a central focus for many families. Houses are receiving renovations or upgrades to make working or learning from home easier and more enjoyable; and to provide the residents with improved entertainment value. And now more than ever, people are looking for ways to simply make daily living a little easier.
Covid-19 has permanently affected the treatment of high-touch surfaces like light switches, so touchless control with a voice controller app is going to be more important than ever. Connected devices like mobile sweeping or vacuum robots can be engaged to clean highly-trafficked areas in a house. Online shopping and delivery is driving smart home device adoption to ensure that those deliveries are securely delivered. And the lighting industry is also adapting: users who are inside all day want lights that can help them simulate a circadian rhythm.
INTEGRATING HOME ASSISTANTS INTO LIGHTING FIXTURES IS THE NEXT STEP.
As with many pieces of technology both in fiction (think the Jetsons) and reality (like rotary phones and mp3 players), devices themselves are shrinking and merging together to reduce spatial clutter. Just a glance at the evolution of the Amazon Echo shows clearly that the tabletop device itself is getting smaller with each new model.
Seamless integration of the home AI into other home devices is a noble goal, so devices blend into the background and become invisible.
What if smart home technologies were integrated into lighting fixtures? Lights are already in the center of most every room in every building, above any activities, where they garner next to no attention. They’re in the optimal location for a smart speaker that can pick up commands, or that can play music and spread it evenly throughout the room– or even the entire home.
Tabletop voice assistants, for now, are just a means to an end. And the lighting industry has already begun to prove to be the missing link to make that seamless smart home integration a reality.
To learn more about rising smart home trends, visit juno-ai.com. You can also subscribe to the Bright Ideas series newsletter and stay tuned for the next episode as Jeff takes us deeper into the realm of smart home technology.
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get every new episode, blog article, and content offer sent directly to your inbox.