It’s 6am. Your blinds have been opened by a computer that knows when you wake up each morning and your favorite tune kicks in on the stereo. A check glance at your wrist tells you your blood pressure and heart rate are normal as you pick up your pre-brewed coffee and make your way downstairs. The phone dings – it’s a message from your oven telling you the croissants are baked nice and flaky, just how you like them, and that you need to restock the fridge with more when you go shopping.
A Utopian dream? Far from it – in homes of the future all of this (and more) will be possible, thanks to smart connected devices that will have the capability to learn our own personal preferences and requirements and teach themselves to act accordingly.
Three main areas
Smart homes are dwellings that use internet-connected devices that enable us to monitor and run appliances and systems remotely, often controlled by a smartphone. The systems operate together and, with the help of AI and IoT, will be able to share data and automate their responses. Broadly speaking, the benefits of smart connected products in the home can be broken down into three areas: security, safety and comfort.
In the first case, video camera surveillance, a key business area for Bosch, is constantly improving. Facial recognition technology and connected cameras will be capable of telling the difference between friends, family and less welcome visitors and even unlock door automatically for those it recognizes. In the case of an attempted burglary meanwhile, the system will also be able to raise an alarm, alert you and the police.In terms of the many safety aspects, monitors driven by cameras and sensors could be invaluable for elderly people living on their own and send alerts if for example someone has had a fall.
When it comes to comfort, the market is already growing at a fast pace for products from smart ovens to coffee machines, lighting, heating and cooling systems, air quality controllers and entertainment systems.
A taste of things to come
Bosch is already at the heart of this domestic revolution, with one example being the Bosch Series 8 smart oven by Bosch Home Appliances. Having learned your preferences, artificial intelligence knows when, for example, your roast meal is cooked to your preference, or your bread rolls baked just how you like them. You will even get a message on your mobile phone when your desired food has been cooked to perfection.
“Smart homes need to be seen in a wider perspective as a part of the connected city and the power grid. Therefore, they are important as part of product development,” says Ralf Mårtensson, Business Development Manager, Nordic, Robert Bosch AB.
“All products from Bosch are connected, in line with the company’s future strategy to give customers new and better functions in their daily lives. The Smart Home means more than just connected domestic appliances, home security, heat pumps and remote-controlled devices though. In the future, with the help of charging functions, the home will be able to act as a supplier to the grid as well. So, if for example, your electric car is fully charged and the price of electricity is high, you could sell some of that power back into the national grid. And vice versa, when the electricity price is lower, that would be a good time to recharge your car and appliances. All of this will be automatically controlled,” he says. There is a secondary value to the extra smart technology too, Mårtensson adds.
“A smart connected home will make it possible to deliver intelligent service solutions to the customer. So, it will be easier to run diagnostics on your machines at home and if they need maintenance it can be detected immediately,” he says.
Despite their huge potential, smart homes also present specific challenges too though. One will be keeping one step ahead of cyber criminals, with several surveys showing still that many customers are concerned that hackers will be able to enter and cause havoc in their homes.
”Cyber security will be, or is, one of the main challenges for the future in all areas, from small remote controls to large scale infrastructure functions,” Mårtensson says.
“Bosch has long experience, including from the automotive industry, when it comes to IT-security, and we will use all our knowledge to make connectability safe in our products for the customers.”
Despite the caution, it’s hard not to imagine that our homes will become safer and more comfortable thanks to the march of technology. And, with the homes being so precious to us, knowing we are safe and secure whether we’re in it or not, will help make it feel even more special.