Imagine you’ve had a long day at the office. You’ve been grinding away all day and now all you want to do is get home and chill.
You open your smart home app, say “Alexa, I’ve had a long day”, and your smart home takes care of the rest. It sets your oven to preheat and a vintage Chenin blanc to chill. Your smart bath fills to your perfect depth and temperature. Soft mood lighting illuminates the room and ambient music fills the air.
After a bad day at the office, your smart home awaits - ready to save the day.
Science fiction? Nope. Welcome to the smart home of today.
Smart home innovations have gone from small steps to one giant leap. 2021 will bring several key trends into play, trends that are set to change the very concept of what we call ‘home.’
The term ‘smart home’ has been around for a while now. Not too long ago, being able to turn up the thermostat and draw the curtains with a remote control was enough to earn ‘smart’ status. But in 2021, tech breakthroughs are going to ensure that smart homes are truly smart.
Instead of just reacting to commands and doing what we tell it to do, smart homes can now predict and adapt based on our preferences and patterns of behavior.
Machine learning and advanced Artificial Intelligence will make it so your home will know that you’ll want to turn the heating a degree or two before you even realize it. It’ll be able to predict when you’ll run out of a certain food, based solely on your eating habits. It’ll even be able to offer you suggestions to improve your home life, from customized recipe ideas and health advice to entertainment tips and workout routines. How’s that for smart?
One area where smart homes are truly gaining traction is in the kitchen. There are so many possibilities for tech to improve daily cuisine, taking the simplicity of food storage and preparation to the next level.
Let’s start with the fridge. In 1899, Albert T Marshall invented the first fridge, radically changing our relationship with food. Over 111 years later, fridges don’t just keep food fresh. They act as a family hub – planning your meals, keeping tabs on the food you’ve got, keeping track of expiry dates, ordering your groceries when you’re running low, and keeping family life connected with calendars and notes. Who needs fridge magnets when you’ve got one of these?
The smart fridge syncs all your other appliances together. These include smart ovens that know the precise temperature to cook different types of food. Smart ovens can even adjust the level of doneness depending on which family member it’s cooking for. You can preheat your oven remotely, so it’s ready to roll when you get home. Hoover, Bosch, Samsung, and Siemens are all releasing boundary-pushing smart ovens next year.
Smart wine coolers, microwaves, mixers, and pressure cookers can also be controlled remotely, so you can arrive home with dinner all but served. Let’s not forget kitchen entertainment centers, where you can listen to your favorite tunes or video call your best friend while cooking, or even follow recipes.
Smart kitchens are now fully integrated areas where incredible technology meets ingenious design, inspiring you to get next-level creative.
Remember those “homes of the future” from back in the day. They’d have 24-hour home surveillance, but you’d need an entire room to store the tapes. Next year’s security systems will be hooked up to cloud storage, with endless storage and easy access. Smart locks are also evolving – moving towards fingerprint and facial recognition technology.
Probably the biggest development in smart home security is drones. Drone cams may seem like something plucked straight from a sci-fi show, but they’ll soon be patrolling homes all over the world. Amazon’s about to drop a new security device in 2021 that’s pushing the boundaries on smart home security.
Their new security drone will connect to several sensors around the property. It’ll stay docked when not in use, but when one of the sensors is triggered, the drones fly to the area to investigate, filming all the while.
Car security is changing too, with the introduction of several devices that connect with your car. Amazon’s Ring is in the driving seat when it comes to smart security for cars, especially with their innovative car alarm. When someone tries to tamper or break into your car, the device sends alerts to an app on your phone. No more waking the neighbors – just a direct security alert.
Smart lighting is becoming incredibly advanced. Brands including Phillips, Sengled, Eufy, and Wyze are the brightest of the bunch, lighting the way for the rest to follow.
Smart bulbs can now be controlled by your phone, tablet or smartwatch and can also be activated through voice commands. You can also set the mood from afar, activating your lights to turn on when you’re on your way home. Many smart bulbs even have geofencing features, which means they use GPS to pinpoint your location. These smart lights don’t need activating – they’ll automatically turn on when you’re at a specific point on your journey home.
You can also customize your lighting for a variety of specific occasions. Different types of mood lighting can be synced up to your favorite TV shows, automatically detecting audio cues to create a specially designed light track.
As with any element of a smart home, integration is key. That’s why it makes sense to have smart lighting that syncs with your smart security and smart heating systems. 2021 will see smart lighting that is ‘If This Then That’ compatible – meaning it can react to changes to the external environment in unprecedented ways. If, for example, the weather forecast predicts a gloomy, sunless late afternoon, you can expect to arrive home to a well-lit, welcoming house, courtesy of your intelligent lighting system.
With people increasingly spending more time at home due to the pandemic, AI virtual assistants are becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives. Just a few years ago, their role was limited to picking the next song on Spotify. Soon, they’ll be synced with every aspect of the smart home.
Imagine being able to check what food is in the fridge and get alerts when it gets close to its expiry date, activate your robot vacuum cleaner, turn on the washing machine, send a text message, make dinner reservations AND pick the next song on Spotify. Just by speaking to your home’s virtual assistant and all without pressing a single button.
If that’s not enough, 2021 will see the launch of Amazon, Apple, and Google’s Project Connected Home. The idea is to create a unified open-source smart home platform, meaning that each company’s virtual assistant will be compatible with any new smart home device.
Bluetooth speaker showerheads. Mood-lit mirrors with smart demisters. These are nice little smart home trends that take the bathroom experience up a notch or two. But the brilliance of smart bathrooms is in the customization.
Imagine being able to control every detail of your bathroom experience, from the precise temperature of your daily shower to the depth of your Sunday bath. Even better, imagine each member of the family could have their settings. Digital showers and bath fillers are making this a reality, and are set to be one of the biggest smart home trends in 2021. Kohler is producing some incredible stuff – from smart baths and digital showers to customizable toilet seats.
Health is at the forefront of our minds, particularly at this moment in time. Fridges that write your shopping list for you and self-running baths at the perfect temperature are great. But if smart homes are going to improve our lives, they need to cater to the most important aspects of our lives. And what’s more important than health?
Everyone can benefit from the next generation trend of smart home healthcare, with sleep and nutritional monitoring just the beginning. As the tech has advanced, a more nuanced approach to self-care has become possible.
In 2021, through smartwatches, smart glasses, smart clothing, and smart patches, your home will be able to monitor your health like never before. For example, smart-sensor embedded clothing can provide data to monitor cardiac and respiratory health, as well sleep patterns and general physical mobility.
These smart devices will also be able to take this data and suggest ways to improve your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as making remote patient monitoring a reality.
With most of us spending much more time at home in the past months due to the pandemic, the smart home gym revolution comes at the right time.
Coming in the form of giant touchscreen displays – next year will see screens of up to 50 inches (127 cm) – smart homes gyms are now an entire gym and personal trainer, all in one retractable package.
Virtual personal trainers, live on-demand fitness classes and full-customizable programs have been the standard for the last few years. Now, fitness devices are becoming genuinely smart, with the ability to monitor the intricacies of every workout. Sensors monitor every rep, adapting guidance and measuring your progress in real time. They can even detect when you’re struggling – acting as a ‘virtual spotter’ to help get you to the end of your set. Next level electromagnetic technology means you can change weight resistance at the flick of a button, or through a voice prompt.
Smart gym company Tonal are the world’s leaders in smart gyms, with Volava also making waves on the smart home fitness scene. In this current climate, and with increasingly smart AI-driven technology, smart home gyms continue to go from strength to strength.
With the increasing number of smart home devices in the home, having one WiFi point in the house is no longer good enough. Now, for a home to be truly ‘smart’ and able to run more devices simultaneously, wider coverage is needed. Insert mesh WiFi – an innovative technology that, while not completely new, comes into its own as smart home devices become increasingly popular. Mesh WiFi technology is a lot smarter than that of a standard router, using AI to deliver consistent speeds throughout the home.
2021 will be a big year for WiFi, with a whole wave of next-generation technology making a fast, efficient, fully functioning, and interconnected smart home a reality. Linksys, Netgear, and Ubiquiti are all making incredible mesh WiFi devices that are taking this technology to new heights.
Our homes are now so much more than just a simple roof over our heads. The key smart home trends for 2021 show just how integrated our homes are becoming in our daily lives. They write our shopping lists, assist us with preparing and cooking dinner, and enable us to unwind after a stressful day. They keep us safe and sound and they monitor our bodies to keep us healthy. And, with technology advancing at such a rapid rate, they’re only getting smarter.
Start setting up your smart home today. Get in touch with TechBuddy and we’ll help you get connected!