Latest technology and product offerings in smart homes

The Senior Vice President and US Head of the ARTIK platform at Samsung discusses the new generation of autonomous smart homes and implications for industries, such as health and care for the elderly.

Smart homes technology: a vision for tomorrow

Smart homes are currently about controlling your home, providing information, helping you save money and making life more convenient. They are expensive and require technical knowledge to install and operate.

Tomorrow’s generation of smart homes will be autonomous: it will have a brain and nervous system that allows it to hear, see, smell and recognise, as well as to understand and predict intent. It will require less intervention and will be automatically and securely connected. Artificial intelligence, interoperability and machine learning will combine to create autonomous technology that is nearly invisible in the smart home. Radar, light and sonic sensors, will be combined with temperature, humidity, gas, proximity and door window contact sensors deployed in windows, walls and fixtures. Add natural language processing, voice recognition, face recognition, food and flame recognition and we will have comprehensive systems, which harnesses the power of connective technology, making the smart home safer, more efficient, convenient and comfortable – and more personal.

Examples of second generation smart home technology emerging include:

  • Light My Path tracks motion as you move around your home

  • Firefly lights the room you are in as you move around the house

  • Away From Home tracks family movements to replicate them

  • Verint Systems tracks the elderly in their home and monitors gait and breathing to predict and respond to the risk of a fall.

Implications for healthcare

Connectivity, machine learning and artificial intelligence will change medicine from prescriptive to preventative. The next generation of wearable devices will be able to monitor blood pressure, activity and even position, enabling health care providers to monitor health in context – and insurers to adjust premiums accordingly. United Health Care in the US, for example, now offers a premium discount of up to USD 1300 per year for clients who use wearable devices and fulfill certain activity criteria.

Cloud federations connecting ecosystems

McKinsey & Company estimates that 40% of the value in the Internet of Things will be tied to the combination of data from devices and the combination of data from multiple cloud sources. For the smart home of the future this is likely to be true. Imagine a home fire alarm system, which could detect the actual location of a fire, turn on the sprinkler in that room, determine who is in the house and where they are, light the way as occupants exit the house, notify the police and fire department and owner, if necessary.

Such a scenario is possible, but it requires a combination of three or four different vertical ecosystems within the home, all sharing data. Artik at Samsung are working to this end on a new generation of clouds with the ability to communicate with each other and looking at ways to bridge clouds to form a federation of clouds.

Development challenges facing smart home technology

  • Diversity of existing devices, networks and markets
    The Internet of Things spans a vast number of technologies, service profiles and markets. To actually make the autonomous smart home of the future a reality will require a lot of effort and investment. One of the ways companies, like Samsung are tackling the problem of diverse complexity is by focusing on standards. For example, companies are converging on a Bluetooth standard for new products, using open protocol and open APIs, standardizing software architectures and security techniques.

  • Security
    Philips Hue has been hacked, the Zigbee system has been hacked. The Target POS system was hacked via the HVAC system. Cyber attacks can often be resolved by network isolation, the implementation of secure key storage and secure APIs. The challenge is to stay ahead in order to prevent future hacks.

Closing words

For a smart home to be great, it needs to be something that recognizes you. It needs to be autonomous and needs to understand context. Innovations in smart technology are already enabling companies to work towards this goal by creating connected products with the potential to transform homes and businesses.

About the speaker

James Stansberry is the Senior Vice President and US Head of ARTIK, an end-to-end, integrated IoT platform that transforms the process of building, launching, and managing IoT products.

“Technology serves society best when it’s human-centered, open and collaborative”

Summary by David M. Taylor. This article is based on the "Risk Talk on Smart Homes" which took place on 21 November 2016 at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue.