The idea of a Smart Home is not new. Back in 1923, Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier described a house as "a machine for living in." Since then, we have seen many attempts to transform this vision into reality but in most cases adoption was limited to do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

Making strides

Only recently have we started to see positive signs suggesting that smart home market was getting ready to cross the chasm. What is different now? The main reason is that smart-home technologies are becoming a part of a much larger picture. Now, we are entering the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), the new transformational approach to smart systems. IoT is a next-generation growth engines that is substantially affecting the overall ecosystem of national and international industries and transforming people’s lives and work cultures. Intelligence-embedded small devices are moving into every segment of society, augmenting existing things and creating new breeds of devices and services.

"Smart homes for the first time are starting to include systems that do not require complex configuration and interaction with the user."

More importantly, IoT is changing our traditional approach to building devices, systems and services. The horizontal nature of IoT is breaking decades-old barriers among application domains and allowing us to start developing applications and services that leverage information gathered locally in conjunction with the data gathered everywhere to produce new and exciting results. Operating a programmable thermostat in the past was about as difficult and painful as programming a VCR. (Age test: How many of us actually remember what a VCR is?)

Connecting to you

Then we started experimenting with devices that can detect our presence and learn our daily routines. Now we have mastered the ability to create self-learning systems that also know how far we are from home, what our ETA is and how hot or cold it will be outside at that time, all via a simple app on our smart phone that can work in concert with a smart home. 

A number of startup companies are applying the same approach to control sprinkler systems that water our lawns. These systems gather local temperature and moisture information and use weather forecasts to determine if the lawn needs to be watered and how much water they should use.To sum up, smart homes for the first time are starting to include systems that do not require complex configuration and interaction with the user. These systems and devices are being designed to operate “behind the scenes” to make our lives more comfortable while improving the efficiency with which we use energy, water and other scarce resources.