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  • The Smart Home Revolution

    Telematics will revolutionise our habits and homes

    Experts forecast that fully autonomous self-driving cars will begin to appear as early as five years from now and probably dominate the automotive market within fifteen years. While not much may change at a glance – meaning that our cars will continue to look just like traditional cars, at least at the beginning of this new adventure – inside, they will be completely transformed from pre-eminently mechanical machines into sophisticated artificial intelligence systems, capable of machine learning and real-time analysis of the input arriving from dozens of sensors: temperature, humidity, proximity, cameras, radar, infrared, etc.

    And what will happen to our houses as the entire urban scenario around us changes to accommodate this telematics revolution? Our homes will change, too, radically, especially on the inside, perhaps less on the outside, just like our vehicles and our cities.

    Home Telematics Insurance

    The integration of telematics systems into our houses will allow us to optimise energy consumption and actively monitor our houses for fires, flooding, gas leaks and burglary, immediately alerting emergency services, if necessary. Naturally, this means that home owners will be able to enjoy the same opportunities that telematics has brought to the automotive insurance industry.

    Indeed, according to a market report published by Transparency Market Research the global value of the home automation market will reach US$ 21.67 billion by 2020. And the acquisition of smart devices will grow exponentially as more and more systems connect to the Internet of Things.

    Internet of Things

    Telematics will connect homes and integrate them into the greater network that allows smart city infrastructure and autonomous vehicles to communicate and share information: the Internet of Things.

    The introduction of telematics, domotics and ultra-broadband connectivity to our homes means that our houses will be able to automatically adjust to our preferences and welcome us in the evening to a cosy warmed environment with a dinner ready in the oven, or warming, and maybe even a steaming bath. And it will all happen automatically, based on our preferences, as our car signals the imminent arrival of the homeowner or guest via a shared geo-location system.

    And just like our cars, our homes will also learn to automatically adjust to our preferences and habits. And, by the way, both our houses and vehicles will monitor our health conditions and share this information – if requested – with our physician and/or hospital, just as both will be equipped with cameras and e-alert systems for health emergencies.

    Smart Devices

    Moreover, just as our vehicles will soon be waiting for us in the morning, warmed and ready to go with our favourite music or news programme playing, our houses will also evolve into a complex hive of smart, interconnected, and sooner-than-later even sentient devices: fridges that order our favourite foods from on-line retailers as soon as supplies run low and employ smart tags to alert us to expiry dates, home security systems that automatically go on standby as we approach the front door, the proverbial dinner ready in the oven, and much, much more.

    Domotics, the term used to refer to smart home networks and systems, will inevitably replace a myriad task – from shopping to cleaning through maintenance – as our homes grow fully autonomous and provide us with more free time to rest and socialise.

    Social Web of Things

    Beyond feeding on the information provided by ubiquitous sensors, our homes, again just like our vehicles, will also be fully connected to social networks and to the future Social Web of Things.

    Crowdsensing will provide us with constant updates on family and friends – or, at least, those who have decided to share the information collected by their homes, vehicles, smartphones and wearables – alerting us to the location of partners, children and friends, while pattern recognition algorithms will continue to recommend the restaurants, clubs and venues best suited to our wishes.

    Futureworld

    Big data and machine learning will also continue to drive the sophistication of artificial intelligence systems, the collection of personal data and preferences will provide us with custom-tailored habitats, and eventually this will transform not just our houses and vehicles, but our very world.

    In time, the Internet of Things will turn into the Internet of Everything (IoE), a universal network that will literally connect everything from our toothbrushes to our work agenda. The IoE will progress far beyond machine-to-machine communication to include human beings directly into a unified network, a futuristic world of machine-to-person interaction and, one day, cyborgs and cybernetic organisms, too.

    Quality of Life

    Rest assured, however, that the future is not on course to become a dystopian, technological, brave new world. Scientific progress is also progressing by leaps and bounds to ensure environmental sustainability and improve individual quality of life and our health.

    Modern materials will be wed with natural wood to produce soothing environments that dissipate as little energy as possible, while silicon-based roof tiles will collect and store solar energy to power all our devices. Plants will be used to filter the air and ensure optimal humidity levels, while lighting will automatically adjust to suit our biological needs.

    In fact, the house of the future echoes Le Courbousier’s machine-à-habiter concept, but one that is far more comfortable, soothing and energetically self-sufficient, and has a lesser impact on the environment than anything we have ever experienced before.

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