Six technologies that are changing life at home
Virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence – technologies that seem far off into the future, more suited maybe for a sci-fi movie that your living room. But they are already here, in one way or another. In fact, you can already buy them. Here’s a list of a few that you should probably pay attention to.
TVs and how awesome they’re getting
Despite streaming services taking the lead on entertainment, televisions are still quite the hype – especially smart TVs that integrate said streaming services. They come in all sorts, with different image definitions: 4K, OLED, QLED, HDR, and the latest addition: 8K. High definition keeps getting better and better, with more vivid colours and a plethora of details that the human eye arguably can’t really perceive – unless it’s plastered on an immense screen. Which leads to more people considering the advantages of investing in a home cinema – hence the 8K.
The magic of biocentric lighting
When we look at lights in a house, we usually focus on how bright it is. We can dim it, but this only means it’s less bright. What isn’t considered is the quality of the light you’re producing. Let us explain: the sun produces different kinds of light. In the morning we have yellow light, which turns to blue during the day – most of our electronics reproduce that blue light, which stimulates our senses and keeps us awake. As the day progresses, the light becomes yellow again, and that calms us down. Serotonin and melatonin are released, helping us sleep. The new generation of lights, called biocentric, tries to replicate what’s going on outside, inside.
Intuitive artificial intelligence
Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant, Siri – at the moment, they are just voice operated controllers: you have to tell them what you want them to do and how. As it evolves, though, it will come to understand what you want and take the initiative on its own. So, for example: right now, you have to say “Alexa, turn on the radio to BBC1.” In the future, it will use artificial intelligence to understand your preferences and if you always hear the radio while eating breakfast, for example, it will turn on BBC1 as soon as you walk into the kitchen without you needing to say anything.
Environmentally-friendly smart thermostats
Artificial intelligence will eventually affect all parts of home life, but one way that is already making a difference is in the heating systems. The new generation is activated by sensors and machine learning to understand how and when you need heat in your house; for example, through geofencing it can detect when you are a certain distance away from your home, activating heaters so that you enter a warm home. It can detect the areas you use more in the house, and when, and heat these rooms individually when needed. This not only affects our finances (for the better) but also helps the environment, as less energy is consumed.
Robotics and their endless possibilities
It’s old news that robots have been used more and more in the medical world to perform highly detailed procedures and surgeries, but now robots led by artificial intelligence are also getting to homes. Although they can be quite expensive, they could prove invaluable in cases where people in an advanced age need help, for example, or for busy parents who need help in the house. Smart robots are also being used to educate and entertain children.
Highly connected in a connected world
Internet has become so vital for humanity by now that we cannot imagine a world without it; in fact, we strive to have more of it. While our phones are starting to integrate with the 5G network, which promises to be faster and more reliable than 4G, more and more homes are getting equipped with optic fibre. If you want to have the very best image definition on your Netflix, for example, wireless wi-fi is not going to cut it; you need to have optic fibre, which allows for unlimited bandwidth. These can be installed and connected directly to your TV or computer so that you can make use of all that 8K content (right now, when streaming services have to rely on wi-fi, they automatically compress the files to fit into a seamless streaming experience, so if you are paying to have 4K, you are paying for nothing: the maximum you can possibly get on those conditions is HD.)
Which of these technologies are you most excited about? Which ones do you already have?
This article was written in collaboration with Alex Josling from Seven Integration, a company specialised in home technology. Click here to know more about them.