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Expert View: Building a Future-Proof Smart Home

 

Media and entertainment services are an integral part of our daily lives, yet they have typically not been included in IoT solutions, why?

By Robert Guest, VP Product Management at ACCESS

By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion. Advancements in technology mean that devices and appliances that are central to the home – from CCTV cameras through to smart TVs, heating and washing machines – can be controlled from a remote control, smartphone, tablet or smart speaker.

If smart homes are to provide a more efficient way of life, then IoT and multimedia services need to be unified to enable synergistic capabilities Click To Tweet

Consumers are embracing the day-to-day convenience IoT technologies can offer, which is exemplified by sales of popular devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. By 2016 both of these devices had become mainstream applications and are catalysts for the merging of the digital and physical worlds within the home.

By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly $1.4 trillion Click To Tweet

Yet, despite media and entertainment services being an integral part of our daily lives, they have typically not been included in IoT solutions. As a result, consumers typically have to use numerous applications in order to access and control their different IoT and multimedia devices and services. This is causing frustration for consumers, contradicts the idea of IoT being the epitome of ease, and ultimately will slow adoption.

Consumers are embracing the day-to-day convenience IoT technologies can offer, which is exemplified by sales of popular devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home Click To Tweet

If smart homes are meant to provide a more efficient and convenient way of life, then IoT and multimedia services need to be unified to enable synergistic capabilities. By providing simplified and unified access to IoT and multimedia devices that can be controlled via a single application, futuristic smart home experiences can be brought to the here-and-now.

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Breaking down the silos between IoT and multimedia services adds a new layer of ease and convenience within the home. This is what will truly drive the consumer acceptance beyond the few early adopters that venture beyond asking their smart speaker to play a radio station or set a timer.

Breaking down the silos between IoT and multimedia services adds a new layer of ease and convenience within the home Click To Tweet

Currently, a consumer with a smart doorbell can receive alerts on their smartphone, record a short video clip if motion is sensed, and play a short, personalised voice message when unavailable. This functionality is good, but it requires a specific app, which typically only works on a smartphone. If IoT and multimedia become truly integrated then they can provide services that consumers desire, For example, when the smart doorbell is activated, live footage from the front door can appear on any TV screen in the home.

Currently, a consumer with a smart doorbell can receive alerts on their smartphone, record a short video clip if motion is sensed, and play a short, personalised voice message when unavailable Click To Tweet

This is invaluable for when consumers are watching a film or TV programme or using the TV at a social gathering to play music, because a truly integrated system can pause the multimedia content when the doorbell rings, stream live footage from the front door and remove the need for users to be glued to their smartphones for notifications.

Control of the smart home also extends beyond the property by enabling consumers to manage devices and services remotely Click To Tweet

Our own ACCESS Twine Smart Home app does that by enabling users to access and control all of their multimedia and IoT devices via a single interface. Control of the smart home also extends beyond the property by enabling consumers to manage devices and services remotely.

In the middle of a film you will be able to tell Amazon Alexa that you want to make a snack, so that it would pause the TV screen and continue playing on your connected device in the kitchen to avoid missing the action Click To Tweet

Recently, we also partnered with home automation specialist OBLO Living to combine our strengths in merging the IoT and entertainment world, with remote management, home automation services and connected devices. With this partnership, consumers can create roles to manage their smart homes. For example, scheduling lights to turn on when you get home and playing relaxing music, or ensuring the coffee machine only turns on during weekday mornings before going to work and the upbeat rock radio station is playing to get you going.

Voice control will play a role in helping smart homes become more intuitive Click To Tweet

Voice control will play an instrumental role in helping smart homes become more intuitive, particularly as IoT and multimedia converge. For example, in the middle of a film or TV programme consumers will be able to tell Amazon Alexa that they are going to make a snack, the programme could automatically pause on the TV screen and continue playing on the viewers connected device in the kitchen to avoid missing any of the action.

In order to truly fulfil the potential of smart homes, the Internet of Things (IoT) and multimedia worlds need to be seamlessly integrated Click To Tweet

Ultimately, consumers are embracing IoT technologies but, there are frustrations and in some cases, confusion, about how to get the best from them. In order to truly fulfil the potential of smart homes, then the Internet of Things (IoT) and multimedia worlds need to be seamlessly integrated so that consumers see real benefits. It will open new doors to IoT-enabled multimedia and bring powerful, futuristic home experiences to the here-and-now via simple controls. For operators, now is the time to take a unified approach to IoT and multimedia and offer a smart home experience both in and out of the home.

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Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.


Also published on Medium.