This is my prediction on where HomeKit and the smart home will be in 10 years. I admit it is quite optimistic and perhaps even borders on science fiction, but I do think a lot will have changed in 2030. I’ll start by listing the reasons for the change.
The impact of artificial intelligence (AI)
AI has become a marketing buzzword attached to almost everything which I think is very annoying. However, there is a lot of research into AI being done, and I do think there will be breakthroughs in the next 10 years. And for an AI to be useful in running your home, it doesn’t need to be superhuman. In fact, how artificial intelligence will affect us the most in our daily lives is probably in the form of digital assistants.
My prediction is that there will be many different digital assistants which are very capable in narrow areas, but that they will communicate with each other, and together seem a lot smarter than they really are. Perhaps you won’t have one personal digital assistant, but many running different domains, all playing their part as instruments in a symphony orchestra. Some of them will be tied directly to you, while others are tied to the household. There will probably be one in charge of the car, another running your home automations, etc.
Abundance of sensors and networked appliances
This is something that has already started, but I’m sure we’ll see an explosion in inexpensive sensors and “smart” appliances. Having your home full of sensors sensing motion, brightness, temperature, humidity, people and probably cameras being able to see which person is where, will give the “home assistant/AI” the ability to see what is going on inside your home. And with all the lamps, TVs, coffee maker, oven, blinds, washing machine, dishwasher, heater, AC, door locks etc. (most available already today), the “home assistant/AI” will be able to control the home.
Putting it all together
Thinking how this might all come together, the result could be a smart home quite different from todays. The home assistant running the home, communicating with all the other digital assistants will be able to learn your habits, routines and preferences, and be able to predict your movement and actions so that everything is more seamless. With all the data from the sensors, your calendar, your email, etc., using machine learning it wouldn’t be that hard to make the home seem quite smart. If we want to take it a step further, we could tie in health data.
Let’s create a scenario. It’s the morning of a workday. You are scheduled to be at work at 9 a.m. The home assistant running on your HomeKit HUB, checks with your digital scheduling assistant what’s your program for today. It also checks with your digital health assistant, running on your phone, getting the information that you’ve had a rough night and are probably not very well rested. Checking with the car’s digital assistant, it finds out that there shouldn’t be any traffic problems this morning. With this information, it decides to wake you up a little bit later than normal. (Perhaps you’ve set a rule that in case you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you want to be woken up half an hour earlier so you can get a short, intense workout in before going to work.) You are woken up by the lamps slowly turning on and the blinds being opened as the morning news start playing on a screen in the bedroom. As you jump into the shower, the coffee machine starts making you a fresh cup of java. When you’re sitting on a bar stool in the kitchen, having breakfast and looking at your schedule for today, the car starts warming up, because it’s a cold winter morning, and it knows you’ll be out in 15 minutes. In case you’re are not showing signs of leaving the house, the car assistant will get the home assistant to gently remind you that it’s time to leave for work.
As you leave for work, the house sets itself in an “away” mode, with the lights turned off and the heating turned down. It knows the car will let the home assistant know when you are on your way back home.
Does this sound like science fiction? Couldn’t we do most of this today? What do you think the smart home will look like in 10 years?