The development of IoT market will certainly cause a huge leap forward for civilisation, perhaps as huge as when Graham Bell invented the phone. In fact, it is inevitable but we are still waiting for a technological boom that will radically change the way in which societies use products and services. This will be a real revolution that will change all economy sectors and affect practically every area of human life. At FIBARO we are already reflecting on the future and trying to adapt our products development strategies to world trends. What could a house of the future look like around 2050? Let’s see for ourselves!
From smart products to smart ecosystems
In order to understand the direction in which IoT systems will develop, it is worth taking smart home systems to a workshop to have a closer look. On the basis of a short analysis of their development, I will try to describe further stages of the development of the Internet of Things.
Until recently, most of the smart home enthusiasts were satisfied with simple automation. In order to feel the significant progress that had been made in our home environment, it was enough for us to have remote control over lighting, gates and roller blinds. Most of the situations, automated machines with simple operating scenarios met our needs completely.
Remotely switched light in the kitchen? Here you are. A simple set of FIBARO Single or Double Switch and an app and you’re done. Curtains controlled from your favorite couch? Voilá. Tercet of Roller Shutter, KeyFob and mobile app and we have our courtains automated. Everything, of course, through the heart of our smart home system, namely the Home Center.
These great solutions in their simplicity are still completely sufficient for most of us. No wonder, smart home is still a relatively new phenomenon. Despite this, the simple automated features of individual products are now slowly becoming standard practice.
However, the more you have, the more you want. With time, we expect not only simple solutions from our smart home, we want the smart home to be voice controlled. We want it to behave in a specific way, to welcome us with the light on when we drive up to the car park, and also to adjust the temperature inside the building to the conditions outside.
As users, we also want appliances that were not meant to be smart or that were not part of the FIBARO System, to be part of it. This is because we want to achieve synergy between the various automations.
We are beginning to understand that FIBARO smart home can meet many of our needs and implement complex scenarios tailored to our specific needs. Then we begin to deal with the ecosystem…
It seems that we are at this stage right now. Modern smart home systems create ecosystems, which consist of complex automations using many devices and scenarios. In FIBARO, this is possible through integration with external manufacturers and programmable scenes that manage multiple functions.
The role of integration in a rapid increase in functionality
Nowadays, no smart home manufacturer can afford to operate in isolation from the rest of the market. We believe that the global battle for customers will be won by those who best understand the changes taking place in today’s developing IoT systems and integrate with other products and services in a very broad context.
External integrations allow a significant extension of the system functionality and achieving synergy, which will allow to achieve completely new possibilities. Even small add-ons and intelligently coupled integrations give us values that we could not have expected.
Linked with services – social environment
Once the smart home ecosystems are mature, the next step will be to combine services. Let’s imagine that the smart home system orders food for a whole week for us, or that we can use it to buy electricity at an attractive rates.
The future smart home will also provide banking and insurance services. It will also be able to advise us on how to buy medical or well-being services such as massages, coaching and dietary services. A smart home will become an element of the social environment that will enable us to access hundreds of personalised services in one place. However, it will be a period of mature Internet of Things. By the time, IoT needs to mature a little before it can integrate its products and services globally.
When to expect a boom?
Today, the development of the Internet of Things is slowed down by the relatively low number of smart products that could communicate in one unified language. Nor are there yet clear rules or parameters on how to build up a service offer to fit into a common system.
There is still much to be done on the subject of global information systems, which in the future will constitute the core of IoT. There is still a lot of work to be done by the financial industry, national regulators and social network owners to tackle the challenges of data privacy and security.
Only when all systems, products and services are equipped with an interface designed to communicate with each other, we can speak of a real boom. It seems, however, that this day is not as distant as it seems and it can happen already in our lifetime.
Autonomy of the decision
Another issue is the autonomy of decision making in IoT systems. Today, it is man who has to make decisions about purchasing products and services. But perhaps in a few years time IoT systems will be so familiar with our behavioural patterns, so familiar with our preferences and everyday choices that we will want them to support us and propose the best solutions for us.
Thanks to predictive analysis based, for example, on data from physical activity monitors or global purchasing trends of people with similar life situations, the systems will be able to make everyday decisions for us. Perhaps with even better results. Right now we are already dealing with a certain autonomy of their operation, for example in the case of cars or smart home systems. However, we are still not talking about responding intelligently to our needs, but rather about doing things.
Autonomy of IoT systems means that the machine anticipates specific life events and proposes the best solutions tailored to specific needs. Will it be possible? Certainly, yes, it is only a matter of developing appropriate mathematical models.
Societies of the future will also be more economic and economical. Thanks to the IoT systems, they will make better use of the resources given to them. The economics of sharing will become a reality by changing consumer purchasing behaviour and moving from ownership to service use. Ease of access to common resources will also be important here. People will understand that their needs can be met together with those of others, and that is not surprising at all. Autonomous system decisions will also enable better management of large-scale needs.
For example, if you buy most of the tickets for a premiere movie in a certain district of the city, it wont be shown at the other end of the city, but closer to the district that had bought the most of the tickets. All this in order to avoid traffic jams and save valuable time of each viewer, and at the same time save the city additional traffic and reduce polution to the environment. But who knows? Maybe there will be no more cinemas then, as we know them today?
Let us remember that our societies will grow older and older, so future IoT systems will also have to meet our needs to care for our loved ones. Continuous monitoring of the health status of older people will significantly improve the quality of life of older people, but also of their children, who will not have to worry about their parents. The stand-alone home will take care of them on the most urgent issues currently requiring the involvement of health professionals. The automatic dispensers will administer the medications and the system will order a doctor or an ambulance if something goes wrong.
This can, of course, have a negative impact on social relations. Some families have distanced themselves from each other, but let us remember that the children’s sense of responsibility and guilt on the part of their parents is also not always healthy for the relationship. IoT systems will support these relationships by reducing the discomfort associated with the need for daily care and worrying about loved ones.
FIBARO at the centre of phenomena
FIBARO is already working to provide a product that will be able to meet the future needs of its users. Our main task will be to agilely combine multiple products and functionalities into one coherent whole, so that they can be controlled by one tool. This is the task we set ourselves for the Home Center, which is the beating heart of the FIBARO System. Its capabilities and openness to external integrations make it the best position on the market today for all those who want to start building their own smart home system. Let’s also remember that this tool is constantly being developed by our Poznań-based team of developers. Therefore, we can be sure that with the development of the whole IoT industry, and especially smart home, we will always have to deal with current solutions.
Today it is us who take care of the house, but in the future it will take care of us. Smart home system will create the best possible conditions for us and will adapt its parameters accordingly to our specific needs. This will take us to a whole new level of comfort and raise the quality of everyday life. This is a very near-term prospect.