10 smart home trends to watch in 2018 Homeowners are increasingly relying on intelligent technology to automate everything from turning up their heat to playing their favorite playlists on demand. Voice-activated systems like Amazon Echo and Google Home, doorbells that record video, and garage doors operated by phone apps are popular home amenities.
According to a survey of 987 U.S. homeowners conducted by Houzz, nearly half (45%) of homeowners are installing smart systems or devices during their renovation projects.
Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, recently shared his vision of smart homes with MIT Technology Review: “A successful smart home should be built on the idea that nobody programs anything; the basic services in your home would just work. So you would walk up to your front door, which would unlock if you were authorized to enter. You would go in, and the light would turn on, the temperature would adjust, and if you started watching TV and moved to another room, the TV show would follow you.”
Soon, homeowners will be able to employ gadgets equipped with predictive analytic superpowers that can send alerts about problems with a home’s air conditioning unit before it fails. A state-of-the-art home entertainment system might provide 3D animation, voice control integration and surround sound.
As this new wave of smart technologies makes domestic life more efficient, productive, and entertaining, here are 10 trends to watch out for in 2018:
1. High-tech security gadgets
The newest advancement in the smart home security sector: amped up security cameras. While many of these cameras will alert you if someone is at your door, a small but growing crop of high-tech security gadgets are taking it to the next level. They use facial recognition to identify visitors, ping you if a specific person (like a dog walker) doesn’t arrive during a set timeframe and will let you know if an unfamiliar person who doesn’t live with you is entering the house.
A security device called Lighthouse, for example, allows users to, say, program an alert if their supposedly sleeping children enter the living room after 8 p.m.
2. Temperature management
With smart gadgets like Nest, homeowners can program heat to turn on remotely through an app before commuting home from work. This type of service is poised to heat up, literally, in 2018. One thing to watch for: the proliferation of geofencing functionality, which uses GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary.
This allows you to program your system to change temperature when you move locations from say, the living room to your bedroom. Some devices, like the wifi-enabled thermostat Honeywell Lyric T5, already have this feature, but homeowners can expect to see more of it in the near future.
3. High-tech entertainment
Smart technology will give the home theater a massive makeover. In 2018, we’ll begin to see more devices catering to recent trends such as online streaming. Some 50 percent of all searches expected to be via voice by 2020, Search Engine Land reports, using features like Amazon Echo’s Alexa or Google Home.
That means more voice control features in the smart home theater. Wireless surround-sound and virtual reality are also expected to play a big role in this sector, according to Twice.
4. Home utilities management
Right now, most homeowners have a rearview picture of their home energy usage and may be surprised when their heating and electric bills arrive each month. Smart technology is working to change this by deepening the relationship between homeowners and utility companies, and providing a more comprehensive view of energy usage. As a result, there could be a shift toward real-time, behavior-based energy management, or even predictive smart home energy management that could factor in weather patterns. DTE Energy, for example, flags areas where homeowners are wasting energy, and allows real-time monitoring of home energy usage.
5. Smart furniture
In the future, we could see robots disguised as shelving units that convert to a bed or closet on demand. At least that’s the vision of the company behind Ori, which appears to be an entertainment console with shelving from the front, and a simplistic bookshelf with one button from the side. With the press of the button or a command to Amazon’s Alexa, the unit made of plywood can turn into a bed or a walk-in closet. The robot is only in the pilot stage, with a projected price tag of $10,000. But shows what types of inventions could make a debut in smart homes in the years to come.
6. Maintenance checks
In the future, gadgets will monitor super-low frequency (subsonic) and super-high-frequency (ultrasonic) sounds to establish benchmarks of what’s “normal” in a home, according to CEPro.com‘s coverage of home trends unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. Then, it could help identify if something is amiss before it causes major damage. For example, a slow water leak emits a sound that would otherwise be inaudible. Termites behind the walls also have a sound that ears can’t hear, but a monitor might. The gadget will sense the noise and alert homeowners.
7. Hands-free homes
The battle for voice-enabled tech is growing increasingly fierce, with two front-runners — Google Home and Amazon Ech0. With more than two-thirds of the entire smart-speaker market share, Amazon has maintained a steady lead, most recently launching its first video surfacing the Echo Show.
“The smart speaker market is expected to grow from 4 billion units this year to 7 billion by 2020,” making 2018 a “pivotal” year for these home-based helpers, according to the Motley Fool.
8. Lawn care
A beautiful lawn that’s always perfectly cut and green could require zero effort in the future. Robin Autopilot, for example, leases custom lawnmower bots to landscapers who provide services in their local areas. The benefits for homeowners: eco-friendly and reliable robotic lawn service that lowers pollution and is available at a lower price point. There’s also a growing crop of smart sprinkler irrigation systems that can be connected to Wi-Fi and accessed from remote locations through smartphone apps or laptops. These systems dispense the right amount of water according to the time of the year, climate and weather. Many also provide a detailed report of water usage.
9. 3D printing
3D printing technology is being deployed commercially, in industries like health care and manufacturing, but imagine a smart home that’s actually 3D printed. The startup PassivDom used a robot to print floors, walls, and the roof of a home.
Catering to the tiny home movement, San Francisco’s Apis Cor printed a 400-square-foot home, including concrete walls, partitions, and the building envelope, in as little as 24 hours, according to Engadget. Could this become the next housing trend?
10. Complete automation
iRobot’s Roomba is fairly mainstream, but the company is working on an upgrade that would essentially tie our smart gadgets to work together in unison. The company envisions a robot that “is actively going out and discovering what rooms exist and what the different devices in them are, and you have a way of figuring out what room people are in,” iRobot’s CEO Colin Angle told MIT Technology Review.
With these smart trends, homeowners could soon reap the benefits of a major intelligent upgrade that could improve everything from their energy bills to their quality of life.
It’s not just more of Alexa! All the big smart home trends from CES 2018
Not too long ago, the phrase “smart home” might have conjured up images of a house where two people with Ph.D.s sit in leather chairs reading lots of thick books on philosophy and physics.
But today we use the term “smart home” to talk about devices in our living space that connect to Wi-Fi and each other, creating an ecosystem of interconnected devices. It’s a market that has exploded in the last few years, and was the name of the game at CES 2018, where smart home tech spilled way beyond exhibit space dedicated to that sector and into places like electronics, fitness equipment, health, and more.
It seems like everything is smart in the home these days, and at CES we saw several smart home trends that gives us a clue as to what’s next in the space. Soon, we might all be able to control every single thing in our homes — from coffee makers to our faucets — with just our voice.
Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Assistant have been around for a while now on phones and computers. But when Amazon introduced voice assistant Alexa into the original Echo smart speaker in 2014, it ushered in a new era of help in the home via voice assistants. At CES this year, we saw just about every smart home device on the market announcing integrations with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and/or Siri.
The bulk of the announcements centered around Amazon and Google. Several third-party companies introduced products with a smart assistant built directly into the device, such as the Lenovo Smart Screen, a smart voice assistant speaker with a screen like the Amazon Echo Show that uses Google Assistant instead, or the LG Instaview Smart Door-In-Door Refrigerator, where you can literally ask your fridge to play music on Spotify. Other companies announced Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility, meaning that you can connect the devices to the voice assistant using a smart hub or bridge so that you can tell them to control your devices for you. For example, Gourmia announced that all of its appliances, including the new GKM9000, are now compatible with Google Assistant.
In fact, we were hard-pressed to find a smart home device at CES that doesn’t interact with a voice assistant, and we don’t expect the craze around Alexa and Google Assistant to die down until just about all products have the technology to talk to you and each other.
Air and water monitoring
You might have heard about that smart blender that you can turn on via an app from your phone or the connected lock that you can control from afar, but what about monitoring the air around you and the water you depend on?
At CES, we saw an increase in the number of smart air monitors and water leak detectors. While radon, carbon monoxide, and smoke detectors have always been around, smart detectors do more than just scream at you when you’re burning the casserole in the oven. Airthings debuted a new smart indoor air quality monitor at CES that monitors carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and radon, and alerts you when the levels become dangerous.
Monitoring water leaks via an app on your phone is also becoming easy. For example, Elexa just introduced Guardian, a water leak-detection system that requires no installation and will shut your water off automatically in the event of an earthquake.
While not sexy products, they’re potentially lifesaving, and it’ll be interesting to see what else appears in the space over the coming year.
DIY smart home security
New smart home security cameras, locks, and doorbells were everywhere at CES this year — and for good reason. Home security is projected to be a $47 billion market globally by 2020. Where a solid deadbolt or a security company like ADT or Brinks used to be enough to secure a home back in the day, the advent of smart home connectivity and a flood of relatively affordable, easy-to-use devices has made do-it-yourself home security a snap.
Users can now even control devices via a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to make things like locking doors and checking video footage easier than ever. At CES, there were smart security product launches from companies like RCA, which introduced a smart doorbell camera; Ring, which launched smart security lights and a security camera; and Blink, which introduced a doorbell. These are just a few of the long list of companies creating home security tech for the market.
While we’ve known about smart cameras, doorbells, and even digital peepholes for a while, one thing we found interesting at CES is that a few companies are talking about integrating car security devices that you can attach to existing home security systems in order to monitor if someone is breaking into your car. We’ll keep an eye on that trend-within-the-home-security-trend.
Chances are, you probably have a dishwasher that washes your dishes and that’s about it. But the most recent models debuting at CES feature not just functionality but also connectivity. For example, dishwashers from several companies communicate technical problems to customer service before you’re even aware of any problems. Ovens can begin preheating via a tap of a button on an app from anywhere in your home. Your fridge can recommend recipes based on what’s in your fridge. Cameras inside your fridge can tell you if you’re out of milk — something you can check while you’re already at the grocery store.
At CES, it was all about connected appliances that not only talk to you, but to each other. Samsung’s Family Hub Smart Refrigerator with Bixby voice assistant has a huge screen on the right-hand door that can serve as a TV, smart speaker, recipe finder, and more. Kenmore’s new washer and dryer can be started and stopped via Amazon Alexa. GE Appliances even debuted the Kitchen Hub, a smart ventilator with a 27-inch screen that mounts above your stovetop. You can watch movies, play music, and more on the appliance.
While a lot of these thing feel futuristic, as CES showed us, we’re getting closer to having a fully connected home that will be able to handle a lot of our chores for us. Now, if only someone would invent a way for us to get our darned laundry directly into the washing machine.