January 28, 2021

13 Smart Home Tech Features To Anticipate In The Next Decade

Smart home tech has made life a lot easier for many homeowners. Voice assistants like Alexa are among the most popular and well-known of the bunch, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg as far as home tech is concerned.

Over the next 10 years, we're likely to see a revolution in how electronic devices interact with each other and impact our lives. New innovations like internet-of-things (IoT) devices that can transform regular homes into smart homes are already becoming more affordable. Below, 13 experts from Forbes Technology Council discuss some of the smart innovations and key features of home tech they expect to see become commonplace within the next decade.

1. Seamless Integrations

I expect to see seamless integrations in the next few years. We can already integrate home assistants with the rest of the home ecosystem — streaming services, HVAC, security, alarms, etc. But let’s get real — integration is often clunky, burdensome and it takes multiple hurdles to get it done. Imagine walking into your home and announcing to Alexa, "I have a new device. Connect it with…" - David Moise, Decide Consulting

2. Fully Integrated Security

Fully integrated security systems will become the norm over the next decade, combining physical security for the home and cybersecurity for digital devices. Today, cybersecurity for the home is actually pretty lax, especially in terms of Wi-Fi networks that are vulnerable to hacking. Expect smart home providers to add cybersecurity measures to their suite of services. - John Shin, RSI Security

3. More AI And ML Integration

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will become more commonplace as integrations with smart devices. Think smart reordering of home supplies and consumables or monitoring of behaviors like electricity usage and home comfort systems to optimize cost and environmental experience. Currently we can tell devices like Alexa to do these things, but in the coming years, it will be done for us. - Mike Frey, Yellow Basket, LLC

4. Extended Role Of Voice Assistants

While voice assistants would be more advanced to be able to do more than schedule calendar appointments, they would extend to doing more such as turning on appliances, and actually be able to do other things such as park your car, answer the door and many more connectivity activities that technology would be able to support. - Lydia Miller, TATA consultancy Services

5. Voice Biometrics

Smart assistants will be reliable and with a fair degree of precision be able to tell who is issuing the commands, so that they can perform complex tasks — such as checking emails, making financial transactions, etc. Voice biometrics is already a thing but will mature over the next few years to become more prolific. - Suresh Sambandam, Kissflow

6. Interactive Robot Assistants

Devices like iRobot are pretty common today and robotics and AI technologies, fast evolving. In a few years, interactive robot assistants will become an integral part of our day-to-day life. They can help perform common household chores, manage connected devices, ensure home security and make our lives more efficient. Not to mention, for people with special needs they can play a much bigger role. - Meeta Dash, Verta.ai

7. Intelligent AI Operating System

While Alexa is the voice interface for the home, we need an intelligent AI operating system to handle "everything" at home (similar to "Her"). This OS would have basic technical features (work from home, energy, cleaning, safety, physical and cybersecurity, sanitation, AV, gaming, payments) at home, office and community levels, as well as ) integration with smart city (all government services), and personal function (social media, e-commerce). - Satyam Bheemarasetti, NeoSilica Technologies Private Limited

8. Virtual Interactive Displays

Voice assistants are nice but I'm looking forward to virtual and interactive displays in the home that complement the voice experience. Not a wearable, but ideally something that's projected. - Elias Guerra, Popwallet

9. House Health Monitoring

The hottest thing in the next five to 10 years will be an assistant robot that tells the vitals of your house as well as scope out oddities. This will be an evolution of the drone monitoring system. People will have home health dashboards that are especially synchronized with the health of their mortgage payments. - WaiJe Coler, InfoTracer

10. Smart Locks

Smart locks, for sure, will be an omnipresent feature. Current technology is quite clunky, and technology is coming up with new and more secure ways of adding greater security. - Irsa Faruqui, RetroCube - Software and Mobile Application Development Company

11. Smart Toilets

I predict that smart toilets will become a tech feature in homes over the next 5 to 10 years. COVID has proven that a smart toilet can help monitor for viruses, diseases and vitamin deficiencies. It will be an early indicator for many health issues. - Brian Keith, Microsoft

12. Smart Solar Panels

I expect to see smart solar panels mounted on roofs. This is in line with the urgency around climate action and sustainability. With this, every house could also resell power back to the electricity grid and contribute toward a circular economy. As smart solutions are all potential attack surfaces for cyber criminals, digital risk could increase in tandem, and we see cybersecurity also taking increased priority. - Kumar Ritesh, CYFIRMA

13. Always-On TV Screens

TVs will eventually be left on all the time and connected to the rest of your ecosystem so that they can show alerts or aid in tasks more easily. They'll passively show art or photos from friends and family, a constant news feed of your own social circle, and your voice will be the remote for most activities. - Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

May 9, 2017

Google I/O 2017 Predictions

As one of only 25 global Android Certified Agencies, Bottle Rocket will be at this year’s Google I/O to learn about the new Android OS direct from Google developers. This is awesome for our clients as much as it is for us—we’ll bring them insights into the mobile platform that few others can.

Our engineers are excited to experience the latest Google has to offer. Here are some of the topics they’re anticipating most.

Instant Apps

Bill Francis

The topic I’m most excited about to learn more details on from this year’s I/O is the Android Instant Apps feature. In my mind, anything that reduces the initial friction of inviting a user into your app experience is something that I should be exploring as a developer. The idea of Instant Apps that Google presented last year is incredibly appealing. However, from a technical perspective, it’s a meaty engineering problem to tackle. Information about the underlying mechanics of the feature has been slow coming, (currently the SDK access has been invite-only). I’m looking forward to learning more specifics about how Google managed to pull this off and if the reality lives up to the hype.

Android Development Tools

Troy Perales

Every year I look forward to the part of Google I/O that will affect how I work every day—the development tools! Android Studio 2.4 will likely be released from the preview and include built-in Java 8 support, giving us access to lambda expressions, method references, and more. The new Device File Explorer is another welcome addition, freeing us more from the outdated Android Device Monitor. All the apps we write support older versions of Android, so any support library updates that bring some of that Android O goodness into our apps will be appreciated as well. Finally, I’m most excited about the unexpected goodies the development tools team surprises us with year after year.

Google Home

Nathan O’Neal

Google Home is the thing I’m most excited about from I/O this year, both as a user and a developer. As a user, there are several exciting rumors about new features and capabilities, and possibly even some new hardware. Some possible announcements include phone call support, a mini version of the Google Home or even a hybrid device that combines a mesh Wi-Fi router with the Google Home hardware. Some of these may be long shots, but they are exciting possibilities! I also expect some announcements regarding support for additional 3rd party hardware or services and possibly tighter integration with Google’s ecosystem. Allowing users to set calendar events and reminders would be a nice addition. As a developer, I’m excited to learn more about the Actions API and how we can incorporate Conversation Actions into projects for our clients here at Bottle Rocket.

Kotlin

Jared Stockton

I would love to hear Google endorse Kotlin as an officially supported language to develop Android apps in. When Apple moved away from Objective-C and brought in Swift as the official replacement, I would have to say that I was a little jealous. Kotlin offers a lot of nice things such as null safety, extension functions, data classes, properties, and more. Any official mention of Kotlin that is more than, "You can use whatever language you choose," would be music to my ears. This is probably a long shot but is an exciting possibility!

Chromecast

Luke Wallace

This little streaming device has made a huge impact in the past few years, and I’m excited to see where they take it. Last year they announced Google Home and some minor integration with Play Music and YouTube, but the possibilities are huge! I would love to see more integration with Home Automation technologies like Nest, Ring, or any of the other IoT devices that are becoming more common. They added multi-room casting for audio, but I’d love to see them allow you to add video Chromecasts to the group as well, so I could have my whole house filled with synced audio!

Android Wear

Chris Koeberle

I’d be excited to hear anything at all about Android Wear 2.0, even just fulfilling the promises of Google I/O 2016. Unfortunately, the big problems with Wear 2.0 right now are stability and adoption, problems which Google has a difficult time addressing. It would be nice if Google would highlight a lower-end device as one that works well with Wear 2.0 to help drive more adoption, in turn justifying more development for these devices. I’d also love to see them do more exciting things that involve coordinating Wear devices with Google Home.

October 17, 2016

Why Brands Should Optimize for Google Assistant

Google’s Pixel Event heavily focused on hardware. They announced Pixel (the first phone designed by Google), an updated Chromecast supporting 4K UHD video, Google Home, and more. What do all of these devices have in common? Google Assistant. So, where there’s new hardware, there’s new APIs – and that means new opportunities for brands.

What is Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is an effort to create a single point of interaction for search, third party services, mobile apps, and web and is the enhanced replacement of what was Google Now. Google Assistant will get to know users personally and help coordinate their day, provide information when needed, and take action. Google’s advances in artificial intelligence (AI), speech recognition, and understanding of conversational language combine to create a powerful service that will be integrated into the new Pixel phone, Google’s suite of connected devices, applications, future Android phones, and there will likely be an iOS app for it as well.

How will users interact with Google Assistant?

Google Home is a new device powered by Assistant that can control a number of other devices, such as Chromecast, making Assistant connection between mobile and at-home moments. It also integrates with IFTTT, Nest, Phillips Hue, and more. Google Home could allow users to make reservations at a restaurant and then turn their lights off on the way out the door. It could help book travel, make hotel reservations, and request a ride through Uber when it’s time to go. This requires development effort to make the magic happen, but the benefit of a satisfying engagement with a user before even installing the app is invaluable – it creates loyalty in the first interaction.

What would a brand need to leverage Assistant?

This functionality is currently available, to an extent, in apps that have deep-linking support, but that’s not all you need. AI, whether Google’s or a competitor’s, is still in its infancy. That being said, many early interactions with Assistant will be similar to an AI assisted Google search. This means SEO and proper site structure are and will be crucial elements of discoverability. If your website is optimized for search, leverages structured data types, and deep-linking support for your app, you’re already fairly prepared.

In early December, Google will launch the Action API. This will allow for “scripted” interactions with Assistant in and outside of an app. Developers like Bottle Rocket can help brands leverage the Action API to develop strategy and server-to-server configurations so that speaking to Assistant can perform deeper actions like booking travel, reserving a hotel room, buying movie tickets, or ordering food. While it has not been released yet, forward-thinking brands will start planning these interactions today.

But why should a brand optimize for Assistant?

It’s about owning a moment in a user’s life. You have to surface during a search, fulfill a need, and then, when your foot is in the door, establish a real connection. You must design intentional serendipity – moments that feel organic, but have been carefully planned to position your brand’s app as the perfect solution to a very particular problem in just the right moment.

Whiteboard infographic of Google Assistant AI and devices

Click image for full resolution

Future-focused brands will begin to work with these technologies – voice controlled products with smart assistants, IoT devices, chatbots, and apps that work seamlessly with the internet – to prepare for a time when users will not seek you out at all. You’ll be expected to come to them, specifically when you’re needed. AI First companies like Google will rely on what it knows about you, your products and services, and your relevance to an immediate need. SEO will be critical, but SEO will not be able to make up for a poorly executed experience – especially since usability and UX are now factors in Google’s search ranking.

Bottle Rocket is prepared to help our clients thrive in an ecosystem driven by relevance and guided with AI. Contact us today to see how your brand can benefit from Google’s latest offerings and how you can prepare for Assistant.

Interested in how it works? Let Luke tell you the rest. Get your copy of “You Should be Using Google Assistant Apps” below.

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