In 2016, we saw a huge trend in voice-controlled gadgets being released onto the market. Most notably being Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Both Alexa and Assistant are in-home gadgets that are marketed as personal assistants. Users can verbally request information from the devices such as weather forecasts and also verbally create shopping lists, set alarms or stream music. These capabilities should sound familiar as they mirror the capabilities of Apple’s Siri, which has been standard on iPhones dating back to 2012.
You might ask why consumers would need a tool in their homes to provide the same function that most already have available on their mobile devices. Well, that leads us to one of the top expected trends of 2017: home automation. Home automation, also described as smart homes, allows residents to control the functioning of their home’s lighting, thermostats, washers/dryers, kitchen appliances, televisions, speakers and, well, you get the idea. Of course, this kind of automation requires synchronization of devices and appliances across a platform that allows them to communicate. Something that key home automation players like Samsung and Google have invested billions of dollars to develop and hone.
Of course voice control is not the only user interface that is being used in home automation. We are seeing buttons scattered throughout premises that can send control lights throughout the home, turn on televisions or send push notifications to your mobile device to alert you when someone arrives on your doorstep. Perhaps the most widely marketed button in the home automation game right now is the Amazon Dash button. Users can purchase buttons for their favorite consumable brands for detergent, pet food, paper products and other household items. One tap of the button and Amazon will automatically ship more of the product.
More than likely, the top brands in the home automation industry have more than a few kinks to workout with their software development before savvy consumers take the plunge into total home automation. Smart homes are the future, and as consumers, it is important to pay attention to the development of these brands so when it comes time to include home automation into the fabric of your residence, you will have the best information at hand.
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