What if your everyday devices like washing machines, lights, speakers, TVs, and cameras could communicate with you, send information to you and work on your commands even from distant places? With technologies like IoT and Artificial Intelligence, it is possible to digitize homes and make everyday devices smarter. Read on to find out how.
While the earlier decade was all about data communication and internet proliferation, the economy of the next few years will thrive upon digitization of systems, where we will encounter implementation of smartness into everything i.e. smart home, smart city, smart appliances, smart retail, etc. The demand for smart home appliances is increasing due to numerous advancements and adoptions of digital technologies in everyday life. According to Sandler Research, the global at a CAGR of 23.48% during the period 2016-2020.
Adoption of digital technologies in home appliances
IoT solutions is one of the key focus areas of digital transformation projects in the consumer electronics and home appliances industry. With the addition of smart devices and appliances, and with capabilities in sensing, connectivity, and data transmission, people can interact, collect, and analyze highly valuable data to automate various operations at home, which were previously performed manually.
Let us take a look at how smart appliances enable the digital home:
Smart Appliances using Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Today, technology has evolved to such an extent that there’s a possibility to design meaningful collaboration between humans and machines, primarily due to advancements in AI. Moreover, digital assistants, also called virtual assistants, work on voice-controlled AI, which can do functions like searching the internet, making calls, and connecting to other devices. These assisted devices can be embedded into smartphones or can also be used as a standalone device. This is a great approach to enhance and automate with working of home appliances.
A few scenarios of utilizing AI in appliances are listed below:
● Smart Washing Machines
Using AI techniques in washing machines, washers can autonomously regulate the washing strength and detergent to be used according to the load weight and the type of fabric. It can also automatically send an alert when detergent is out of stock. By adopting such technologies, users can reduce approx 30% of detergent and power consumption while increasing the cleaning power and thus saving energy.
Another scenario where deep learning and interoperability of smart appliances can be used is to learn the daily schedule of the user and work accordingly. For instance, if the user sets a gym workout on his/her calendar, the washing machine will set gym clothes setting on when he/she returns. Apart from this, using the ‘fuzzy logic’ system, the machine can ensure that once we press the start button, smart sensors automatically detect the laundry load and water level.
● Smart Refrigerators
An efficient solution can be developed using AI technology, which can easily track all the activities through a connected mobile application. Also, round the clock troubleshooting and diagnostics can be offered by monitoring the energy usage and usage patterns of the appliance.
Using a deep learning algorithm, we can remotely monitor and recognize food items inside the refrigerator. The whole information can be automatically stored into an inventory list, which will let the user take a note of everything in the refrigerator from anywhere. In addition, it will let the user select any item in the fridge using AI assistance and view relevant recipes that can be made with that item. A smart fridge can also let the user create shopping lists, upload photos using smartphones, and check inside the fridge to get an idea about things that are out of stock. Users can also monitor the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer.
In a smart home system concept, all appliances should be inter-connectable. So, when a user selects a recipe on the smart fridge, AI assistance will automatically communicate this with the smart oven and begin the pre-heating process.
● Smart Speakers
Smart speakers are the most trending devices that make use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Technically, any speaker that is capable of doing anything beyond just sound can be labeled as a smart speaker. Wireless speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home feature voice recognition software, Bluetooth, NFC, and speakerphone. All of these capabilities can be controlled by mobile apps, making them smart. Smart speakers can be controlled using voice commands to do various tasks such as create a playlist, turn on reminders, make grocery lists, and even search the web.
● Smart TVs
We are all familiar with Smart TVs that are Wi-Fi enabled and work with streaming sticks. AI-powered TVs are gaining popularity nowadays, as they come with new features like voice command, which can understand the context of a conversation using Natural Language Processing (NLP). These NLP algorithms help in understanding the intent of the query before providing a search result. It also supports mobile assistance, where we can view the same content on smartphone and on TV, thus delivering a better user experience.
● Door Lock System
Using remote assistance and smartphone connectivity, we can see if the doors are locked and accordingly update the family or friends. We can be notified when someone opens the door using a key or phone. All these door locking functions work on mobile-enabled technology, which improves the overall safety of the home premises.
● Smart Camera
Smart cameras are the most important factor in home security since it can monitor the minute activities of home as well as the surroundings. With the advanced function of smart cameras, we can record & live stream the critical areas of the home, 24/7. Also, the motion detection feature of smart cameras personalizes and alerts any movements in the vision zone, based on the availability or non-availability of residents in the home.
The feasibility of remote connectivity and access through smart meters provides the functionality to track the electricity consumption and send information in real-time to a smartphone. We can remotely monitor electricity when appliances are not in use and cut off the power in order to save the electricity.
For example, a user can remotely control a smart washing machine via an app that alerts the user about the washing cycle progress, errors or threats, and the energy rate on demand.
In the washing and drying process, a user can monitor the cycle of a smart washer, energy consumption, and can get notified when the drying process is finished, using a remote application.
Using the smart grid technology, homeowners can save money by operating appliances during off-peak times, eliminating the need for the power plant to generate more electricity.
Baby monitor ensures that the parents keep an eye on the baby during naptime, or whenever they step out or are away from the baby for a moment. A baby monitor is a two-piece device with a transmitter that stays in the baby’s room. The receiver is with parents, who can then monitor the baby through sound or video.
Most of the baby monitors are now Wi-Fi enabled or support 3G/4G network. This allows the smartphones to safely and securely transmit data and allows parents to easily check the status of their baby.
Dust is the common origin of causing allergies across the world. In a recent study, 63 percent of people agree that their house is not as clean as they would like it to be. After spending 8 to 10 hours at work, people hardly find time to clean their house. Also, not many prefer to hire someone to get the cleaning done. Here robotic cleaners can be used. Robotic cleaners can automatically clean the tight and usually overlooked spaces that are hard to access in traditional ways. This reduces the chances of falling ill, thus saving money that would be otherwise spent on additional help or medical bills.
The largest barrier to smart home electronic adoption is technological fragmentation within the digitally connected home ecosystem. Currently, there are many standards, networks, and devices used to connect the smart home, creating interoperability problems and making it confusing for the user to set up and control multiple devices. Interoperability will be the key to making the smart home a reality and transforming the landscape of connected consumer products.