How The Rise In IoT Is Impacting Our Home Lives – The internet of things, or more commonly referred to as IoT, has successfully impacted our daily lives. Whether you like it or not, understand it or not, IoT is advancing rapidly and continuing to find new ways to change how we go about our days. For instance, even those who are not technologically inclined have gradually begun to invest in the convenience, comfort and valuable insights it offers them.
The history of IoT dates back to when John Romkey created the first smart toaster. However, the real tidal wave of IoT’s rapid rise was in the early 2010s. This was when some of the first IoT devices began shipping with sensors built in them.
The surge of technology in recent years provides businesses with opportunities to expand their digital capabilities, as well as a chance to improve their operations and become more productive, protected and profitable. Some of the advantages of IoT in business include:
CostReduction – IoT devices help businesses to streamline their operations and increase profitability. Many IoT devices can be tailored to help businesses succeed in their specific field.
Efficiency And Productivity – IoT can increase a company’s efficiency when used to cut down on any repetitive or time-consuming tasks. Additionally, using big data analytics through IoT can provide companies with a detailed overview of their employees’ productivity levels. Helping them to determine what tasks are improving the function of the business and which ones are impairing it.
Customer Experience – Front-end customer engagement has quickly become a priority for many businesses. It has led to businesses looking for ways to better engage with their audience through IoT devices. The average consumer expects a business that they feel should be met. The main expectation is that they want to be able to interact with the business on the phone, either using an automated chatbot or on a dedicated app. Due to this, many forward-thinking businesses are using the new technology available and are combining it with the IoT to help better serve their customers.
Mobility – IoT provides businesses with the opportunity to allow their employees to work virtually from any location. This flexibility is a key advantage for small and medium-sized businesses. Most office leases are not cheap and as a growing company, investing in an office space can heavily impact their finances. The IoT revolution has enabled small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to alter the way they operate. For instance, they can hire more full-time employees who are in a work from anywhere position.
Whilst IoT is changing the way businesses across the world operate, it is also having just as big of an impact on the way we, as individuals, live our daily lives, especially at home. For instance, when thermostats, lights and other technological devices began to use sensors to understand the environment, it delivered the experience we all now associate with IoT.
Smart Home Devices Available
Across the country, more homes are implementing smart devices to help improve the efficiency of their home and complete tasks without having to move. These are just some of the smart home devices that are featured most home across the country.
Virtual assistants or voice-activated assistants are more than just a device that tells you the weather or changes the song you were listening to. They now play an integral form of communication between you and all of your smart, connected devices in your home. The most popular voice-activated devices that are featured in most homes across the country are either a Google Device or Amazon’s Alexa.
One of the primary reasons why voice-activated assistantsare growing in popularity is down to how they can make simple tasks even easier to complete. Many have their Google Device or Amazon’s Alexa connected to other smart devices within the home. This includes their doorbell, lights and of course their mobile. People can ask their device to turn off the lights or change the colour of the lighting, without having to manually do the task themselves.
Smart lighting systems can make us feel powerful as it allows us to control the lights in your home from an app on your phone or tablet. It provides us with the ability to alter the brightness of the bulbs without having to get up to dimmer the light switch. If the bulbs have coloured LEDs, then you can also change the colours. Smart lighting opens a new realm of possibilities or what many refer to as ‘light recipes’. A light recipe means that you have a different coloured light for different things. For instance, if you were watching a film, you might have a warm coloured light on, such as orange. Whereas if you were reading, you might choose to have a cool-toned colour like blue or green. Switching between your different light recipes can be done simply by tapping your smartphone or voice-activated personal assistant device.
Smart Thermostats And Smart Metres
Smart thermostats are another new piece of technology that connects your heating system to the internet. It allows you to change the temperature or switch the heating on or off through your smartphone, or any other device when you are not at home. There are other features with a smart thermostat which includes multi-room control, hot water control, ‘geofencing’ to track when you leave and enter your home, detecting draughts, as well as holiday modes to protect your pipes when you are not away.
However, it is key to note that smart thermostats and smart metres are different. Both are often easily confused, despite performing different functions. A smart thermostat will allow you to control the heating system in your property, whilst a smart metre will handle the gas and electricity readings of the property.
Smart metres are considered to be the next generation of gas and electricity metres. With no upfront costs, smart metres have a range of benefits. One benefit includes sending your usage information directly to suppliers, which means that you no longer have to spend time in dark cupboards or the garage trying to read them. Since they send your usage information directly to suppliers, it means that there are no longer any estimated bills and you only pay for what you use.
There is also the option on your smart metre to show you your usage in pounds and pence. The in-home display is a game-changer as the small gadget will monitor what energy you are using. It will also show you how much it costs in near real-time. The reading provided will be given in pounds and pence, and kilowatt-hours (kWh), which will help you in identifying areas in your home where you can cut back to save both money and energy.
Air Conditioning Systems
For those with a smart air conditioning system in their home, it can be connected with IoT through your Wi-Fi. The benefits of connecting air conditioning to IoT are increasing. For example, you can turn it on and off or change the settings from a faraway location. Meaning, if you had been outside on a warm, sunny day, you would want to come home to a cool, ventilated house. As you make your way home, you can turn on the air conditioning unit ready for your arrival, cooling you off from the moment you open the front door.
There are new smart home devices that become available regularly. One of the latest trends is smart locks. These are becoming an increasingly popular choice for those who are creating a smart home. Simply put, a smart lock is a key-free replacement for traditional door locks. It works through a wireless connection, like Bluetooth, to your mobile device.
When you install your smart lock, you set a code, download the lock’s app and type in the access code on your smartphone when you are in the range of your home. Once you arrive at your front door, you will not have to spend time searching for your key as you have already unlocked your door ready for your arrival.
The primary benefit of switching to a smart lock is that you do not have to carry around house keys with you. As such, it eliminates the challenge of forgetting your keys and struggling to get into the house. With traditional locks, they can seem fool proof however even the most heavy-duty locks can easily be picked. Safety locks are much harder to tamper with as they rely more on digital codes instead of physical mechanisms. It makes access difficult without the right combination on hand.
Another device that can be added to a smart home is a smart video doorbell. Connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, smart video doorbells are mounted next to your front door and will send you an alert when motion is detected or if someone presses the button on the doorbell.
Most smart video doorbells will allow videos to be captured for motion within 30 feet of the door. When any motion is detected, you are instantly sent a push notification to your device. There are numerous benefits to a smart video doorbell, one of the main ones is that it can deter potential burglars. Every burglar will look for a property that is within their range of success. If they find one with a security system that is out of their capability, then they will abandon their original plans.
Another benefit of a smart video doorbell is that it can help to save you time. Whenever a visitor rings your doorbell whilst you are at home and are busy, your device can connect to the camera on your doorbell to show you who is outside. As such, if the visitor is a stranger, you can save yourself time by ignoring the individual, instead of stopping what you are doing to go to open the door to see who it is.
Aside from being a great deterrent for burglars and a time saver for strangers, it can help to reduce insurance costs. Insurance companies love the sort of status of having a video camera security system installed at a property. Many will encourage homeowners to use their security system by providing them with various enticing discount offers.
Operating on rechargeable batteries, robot vacuums use a combination of cameras and sensors to scan and clean your home so that you do not have to. Many of the models available can be controlled and scheduled from a smartphone, which displays a map of your home and sends you error alert notifications should your robot vacuum get stuck.
The Future of IoT
Currently, it is reported that the average British household owns 7.4 internet devices. From smartphones, television, computers, tablets, games consoles, the total of devices in a household is increasing and will continue to do so alongside the advancements in technology.
Both the internet and technology have made it easier, in a significant amount of ways, to exist. Whilst there will always be those who are not thrilled with how the internet has changed the way people communicate with one another, impacted entertainment and how we consume information, there are numerous positives to take from these changes that cannot be forgotten about.
Ultimately, the rise in IoT is not slowing down nor is it going anywhere anytime soon. As the advancements continue to redefine what is possible, most homes across the country will have some form of IoT embedded into their property. Housebound technologies are already continuing to adopt IoT into their construction – things such as boilers, radiators and gas meters. With this trend continuing to occur, the idea of a house that is completely connected become more realistic with every advancement. It will provide tenants with an extraordinary level of control over their homes, helping them to improve the efficiency of key home functions.
As IoT advances, we are fast approaching a world where tenants can accurately identify failing devices, schedule a maintenance appointment at their convenience, and have the problem solved without affecting their overall health and wellbeing. All of this is thanks to the advances in IoT technology over the years.