It’s fair to say that 2016 has been quite a year, not least for what homeowners can now integrate into their homes. This year saw some of the biggest technology providers release a wealth of smart home integration gadgets and systems into the mainstream. Surround sound shifted into the immersive audio sector, and the number of ways that we can improve our daily lives with connected products have increased significantly. We are proud of what we have achieved this year, which includes the recognition we received at the annual CEDIA Awards in the flagship ‘Best Home Cinema Over £100K’ category. Here are some of our 2016 industry highlights which are sure to dominate in 2017.
Demand for integrated homes keeps growing
What 2016 has taught the industry is that the homes that we are building now should be smarter, integrated and targeted at the tech-savvy generation who are taking their first steps onto the property ladder. Today’s smart home technology is increasingly designed to be inclusive for all ages in a family home. New-home architecture and design should reflect the interests of millennials, alongside the needs of the older generation highlighted above. There is a big gap in the market in Europe and America for smarter, integrated new homes for buyers, which forward-thinking, small firms can capitalise on.
Integration will spread into offices too
Smarter workplaces make a huge difference to employee wellbeing. This year, we discussed why small businesses should utilise integrated solutions to improve staff retention in Real Business. For example, automated blinds and screens can alleviate headaches at work which are caused by fluorescent lighting, and reduce the amount of complaints that employees have about lighting in the workplace – which currently stands at 68%. Automated lighting, heating, audio and video services allow your employees to take control, which can boost morale and comfort in the workplace.
Technology that now speaks our language
One of the biggest products to land on our desk this year was the Amazon Echo with Alexa voice control. Voice recognition products have been around for a while, but the success of Amazon’s sleek, compact product has renewed hopes in how capable this technology can be in the home and at work. Evidence shows that we’re becoming more comfortable with voice control. Cloud-based speech recognition has made the service a lot more reliable and mobile, with self-learning intelligence that stores your preferences as you go.
Alexa can now be integrated seamlessly with the Control4 whole home automation system to significantly expand its potential in the home. Homeowners with the Control4 system can already control everything from light and heating settings to entertainment and security by using tablets, smartphones and mounted touchscreen panels. Alexa now enables the process to be controlled by a voice, which is the next step up in home convenience – and coolness.
The rise of a data-driven lifestyle
We expect the adoption of Cloud computing software in the workplace to filter into our homes at a rapid pace next year. Cloud-based solutions are just one part of a rising trend for data-driven approaches to our lifestyles. Voice activated devices, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, are sure signs that some of the biggest suppliers in the world are focused on rolling out Big Data, at-home solutions next year. Although data already plays a big part in our everyday lives, connected home appliances will weave their way into our homes in 2017 like never before.
Connecting the dots in social care
The effectiveness of integrated automated technology in the social care sector is something which we’re all passionate about. The gap between what we spend in the social care sector and demand is growing wider, so finding ways to help older people live independently, either at home or in a care setting is becoming increasingly vital. Smart technology can provide a much-needed lifeline for our lifestyles as we age. Sensors and monitors that can be remotely accessed by family members and carers around the clock now provide an extra degree of support and care to the elderly in the care sector.
AR and VR made a splash
Smart home integration can transform the way we see the world. The evolution of augmented reality (AG) and virtual reality (VR) made significant strides in 2016, with the development of headsets for the consumer market, and mobile games, most notably Pokemon Go, which added virtual characters to real-life settings. This year has paved the way for ‘smarter’ devices that are self-learning and respond even more intuitively to the world around us. Virtual reality has been earmarked as the ‘Next big thing in television’ so watch this space!
Seven Integration is an award-winning home technology company that specialise in delivering intelligent, entertaining homes throughout London and the South East. Please contact us on 0300 124 5080 email@example.com to discuss your next project.