Smart home technology is supposed to be easy to use – once your devices have been set up and configured. But each manufacturer tends to supply their own app for configuration and management.
Now that smart home manufacturers are working together using the Matter interoperability standard, some of these annoyances should go away. However, in most homes there still tends to be one smartphone that is used for the majority of configuration. Why is that?
First, most households have one person who is slightly more technically inclined than their housemates. Not only will they likely be the first to suggest using smart home tech, but they will also leap in and set everything up.
Second, not everyone in the house will want to download and set up several different apps to control their home. Instead they rely on voice assistants. Like Siri, Alexa and Google Now to do the basics. – if they can remember the correct command and device name.
Third. Not everyone has the knowledge and skills required to set up the ‘scenes’ which are used to trigger multiple events simultaneously. Because of this, those people are unable to take full advantage of their tech.
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Maps are coming to the smart home
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) several manufacturers demonstrated map-based control systems for home automation devices. Under these new systems, people are presented with a 3D model of their home and if they want to turn the light on in the kitchen, they simply tap the correct spot on their map. They can see and control all of their devices on the display.
Naturally, many people will use the map from their smartphone, but LG, Samsung and Google have all demonstrated how the system can also be used on a smart TV. And a new update is due to bring map controls to the Amazon Eco Hub smart display too. The familiarity of the TV controls coupled with the ability to see all of their devices in place (without having to remember their names) should make home control easier for everyone.
AI in the smart home
Another trend noted at CES was the integration of generative AI into smart home control. Govee, an app used to control smart lights, is set to receive an AI upgrade. Users will be able to tell Govee to create a ‘Barbie Dreamhouse-inspired effect’. The app will then reprogram lights automatically to create a pink glow from your smart bulbs.
Using AI in this way makes it much easier for non-technical people to create complex smart home scenes. Telling an app to “Set all lights to 50%, close curtains in the main bedroom and water the garden at dusk” is much easier than trying to program all of those actions manually.
Map-based controls will be appearing soon. Generative AI may take a little longer. But the good news is that controlling your smart home is about to get easier – and you may not even need a smartphone to do it.