The Smart HomeSay the words ‘smart home’ and it conjures up images of a futurist world where everything within your home seamlessly responses at the click of your fingers. The reality is, today, the majority of so called ‘smart homes’ are the result of ‘do-it-yourself’ installations where siloed products and a lack of integration have largely failed to deliver the benefits and conveniences they originally promised.
At their heart, smart homes have the potential to considerably improve our home life which can result in enhanced home security, reduced energy costs, a healthier indoor environment or greater in-home convenience and comfort through simplifying everyday interactions. Whilst positive steps have been made, a lack of forward planning, complicated technology, and limited focus on the end to end experience has resulted in incremental improvements rather than universal changes to the way we live.
An increase in smart home technology has largely been driven by the adoption of smart speakers from Google (Home), Amazon (Echo) and Apple (HomePod) which are becoming more common within our homes. Research conducted by Telsyte data Australia indicated that over 3 million Australian homes will have a smart speaker by 2022 and in the US 1 in 5 homes with Wi-Fi now have a smart speaker.
Technological advances in voice control and artificial intelligence is leading to voice becoming a more reliable, useful, and invisible interface to control multiple aspects of our lives. Whilst concerns about privacy remain, the trends point to smart speakers and voice assistants becoming more common within our homes and lives.
A More Connected LifestyleWhilst technologies such as a smart speaker linked to a thermostat can improve the experience of controlling in-home temperature and comfort they can also be used to further connect residents with their building amenities, their concierge, their community, and even the local neighbourhood or village.
The same smart speaker that is used to control personal in-home comfort such as temperature, lighting and blinds can be used to book the latest in building amenities such as a dining room, basketball court, BBQ area, cinema room or receive parcel collection notifications from the concierge.
A smartphone app used to remotely control access to an apartment, monitor energy consumption, track in-door air quality and communicate with neighbours can be used to order catering which is then delivered to the shared dining room, provide visitor access, or even receive curated and personalised offers from local retailers or service providers. The smartphone can be used to book a cleaner or dog walker and authorise the concierge to let them in whilst you’re not home.
It’s important to recognise that whilst we typically welcome technology into our homes if it improves our lives we want it to be invisible, reliable, easy to use and secure. Technology must genuinely reduce friction and save time by combining multiple interactions into a single command such as automatically closing the blinds, turning off the heating or cooling and locking the door command as we leave home.
Experience is EverythingFrom a technology perspective, we know it’s important to ‘get the basics’ right such as high-speed internet, mobile connectivity and common area Wi-Fi. We have achieved this in Australia through a partnership that delivers high-speed internet, TV and phone services via fibre connection to every Lendlease apartment. After all, digital connectivity is the very foundation for a more connected home and life.
At Lendlease, we are constantly exploring how emerging digital technology and partnerships can contribute to improving the places we create. We are committed to human centred design approach and reimagining the experiences and services we provide our customers. Importantly, we focus on ensuring every interaction, no matter how small, is intuitive, seamless, and genuinely improves lives.
What might the future hold for a more connected home life?