Connecting the home and the IoT

18/09/2015

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Richard Hayward, lead marketing manager for Legrand’s wiring devices business, explores the popularity of smart technology and how the internet of things will continue to gather momentum in the home market.

Boom in technology

Consumers in the UK have a real appetite for hi-tech products, which has influenced technology usage in all its guises to ‘boom’ and not just among those who are ‘tech-savvy’. In fact, a recent research report by Childwise has shown that 73% of under-fives use a tablet, and by the age of six 40% use one daily; affirming the wide-spread adoption and popularity of smart devices.

This advancement and integration of technology into all of our lives, young and old, will help to open up a gateway which thanks to the internet of things (IoT), connects a whole raft of products and technology within the home. This all makes the concept of the smart home a conceivable option to many consumers.

Legrand is already experiencing a drive in requests for information and smart installations, and as consumers become more aware of technology and its possibilities, it is only a matter of time before demand increases.

Enhancing our lives

The IoT brings with it an amazing opportunity to measure, monitor, and analyse consumer buying habits and behaviours, which will in turn be utilised to help shape product developments in the future – it has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we live. 

Just as computers record our buying patterns and visits, our homes too can be intelligent and alter and shift depending on experience in order to enhance it. For example, when certain music is played or a certain genre of movie watched, the home has the potential to change the lighting to reflect the mood. Furthermore, through assisted living controls, it is already possible to monitor the health and wellbeing of friends and loved ones from afar, as well as potentially alter the surroundings to suit needs.

Looking ahead

For the vast majority of homes, everyday life will be enhanced by technology, particularly in terms of entertainment and comfort.   

The interesting element to grasp is the idea of technology learning and shaping actions based on experience. If you consider technology in the home today, we can set the heating to come on at a certain time because we have set the timer – the output is directly linked to us doing something. But, what if technology could ‘learn’ so that when you arrive home, the lights come on automatically, the stereo tunes in to your favourite music station, and the heating is at an optimal temperature - without you having to tell it to.

What’s more, the smart meter rollout and the introduction of in-house display units, will begin to shift the country away from a centralised energy network, and our homes become both generators and users of electricity. The intelligent home, linked to the smart grid can adapt to peaks in demand and call for, or divert, energy accordingly helping to relieve stress on the grid during peak times.

The way that we interact with technology will change, and the exciting part is that the basics of this already exist. We’re not talking about an evolution here, it’s more a case of how long before these technology solutions begin to integrate into people’s homes?