How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Our Smart Homes, Smarter

7 Jul 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is receiving a warm welcome from users and big-league developers around the world as more companies pursue an effort to integrate some form of artificial technology into their software and leverage machine learning capabilities to enhance the end-user experience.

Silicon Valley has seen an explosion in the number of AI projects currently in the pipeline, with everyone from Apple, Google, and Meta to Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, and Visa all experimenting with artificial intelligence technology and baking these features into their new line of products.

As more big-time players and smaller startups jump onto the AI bandwagon, the greatest impact AI could potentially have on our lives is perhaps in a place much closer to us than we might think - our homes.

Yet, having smart devices plugged into our homes isn’t anything new. For the last several years, households have introduced a plethora of digital devices, from smart doorbells and security cameras to smart fridges, ventilation systems, and a handful of smart speakers scattered around each room.

In many ways, smart speakers have become the epitome of creating an autonomous environment in our homes, with 65 percent of Americans claiming to own an Amazon Echo pod, while 24% and 18%, own a Google Home device or Apple HomePod, respectively.

On the surface, we might understand the basic workings of these devices through our day-to-day interactions with them. While many of us may be using our home pods for simple tasks such as checking the weather or giving traffic reports, there’s a deeper and more sophisticated level of AI technology already built into their stack of code.

Just as this technology can go deeper, and resolve more complicated everyday problems, so could the potential of artificial intelligence in our homes further enhance automation efforts, helping to improve our lives and reduce our need to complete mundane tasks around the house.

How Smart Our Homes Can Be

Artificial smart home technology runs deeper than we think. Sure, it might not be what we’ve come across in dated futuristic sci-novels and movies, but we’re reaching the cusp of a smart home revolution that will completely change the way in which we live and interact with the resources and systems in our homes.

Intelligent Automation

Different devices in and around our homes can now all be linked together to create a more intelligent ecosystem that can track and analyze all our daily activities. These actions move beyond the somewhat traditional actions, such as requesting certain tasks from home speakers.

By connecting smart devices to the internet, you can now control your entire environment to become exactly the way you want it to be. Temperature sensors can monitor outside weather conditions and change the heating and cooling around your house to make it more pleasant without you having to input these actions.

Security cameras can now track and analyze when you’re having guests over and adjust the environment to be more comfortable based on their preferences and previous activities. Taking it another step further, you can link your home operating system with your mobile device, allowing your operating system to track and schedule important maintenance that may be required in the near future.

Though for me these actions might seem foreign, the reality is that we’re already seeing much of this sort of technology being applied to our appliances, enabling us to have a more efficient lifestye, while spending less time on mundane tasks that can become automated.

Enhanced Activity Analyses

Aside from smart speakers and home pods being able to schedule routine maintenance for things around the house, devices can now track and analyze your behavior and make the necessary adjustments.

For instance, smart water heaters can track your daily activity, including the amount of water used, visits to the bathroom, and how much time you spend getting ready in the mornings. This data will help smart heaters control water temperatures more accurately and track water usage across your home.

The same goes for lighting in your home. Smart devices will analyze how often you use a specific light, and which you tend to use more than others. They can then adjust to this behavior, and ensure those lights turn on and off automatically when you’re entering or leaving a room or be switched on for when you come home later.

By allowing smart home devices to monitor and then analyze our behavior around the house, we can adjust our environment to become exactly the way we want it to be without having to request these instructions.

Upgraded Hands-Free Digital Security

One of the biggest benefits of artificial intelligence has been the development of smarter, more reliable security systems that can now be installed in and around your house. Already, devices such as Ring doorbells and smart locks provide an added layer of security, but moving beyond that, we could see how AI will help make security systems more effective.

Linking security cameras to the internet will enable better facial recognition should there be trespassers on your property. Unusual activity could prompt security systems to automatically notify you and contact local law enforcement.

The average cost of installing a new security system can range anywhere from $600 upwards. On top of this, homeowners spend on average $289 per year on home security systems, while women and families consisting of two or more household members tend to pay twice as much.

By improving our home security systems, and building on top of the protocols that we already have in place, basic security measures can become more reliable, and perhaps more affordable for those residents and families spending twice as much as the everyday individual.

Improved Home Accessibility

Incorporating artificial intelligence into our homes is making basic everyday living more accessible for individuals with disabilities. By allowing these tools to automate certain activities around the house, individuals with disabilities can become more dependent on these digital resources that aid in addressing the barriers and challenges these people may face.

Voice-controlled tools equipped with AI capabilities can be partnered with assistive devices. Smart home systems can monitor and analyze a person’s behavior to better understand their movement, and to adjust the environment based on their needs without having to provide input voice prompt requests.

Additionally, AI can further automate certain tasks, such as scheduling repairs and maintenance, or monitor the overall condition of certain appliances and inform them when an upgrade is needed. Other things, such as adjusting lights or the temperature of each room, can become more manageable and may require less physical interaction to improve the living environment and lifestyle of those individuals with disabilities.

An AI-Driven Real Estate Market

As artificial intelligence brings more automation into our smart homes, further complementing an already existing ecosystem of digital tools and improving how we live and interact with digital resources, the wider real estate market will see a gradual shift of would-be homeowners and renters looking for more intelligent homes.

Some of the most basic smart home features - smart locks, smart lights, smart ventilation systems - have already been at the top of the list of in-home automation tools new buyers and renters are looking for when entering the real estate market.

Demand will continue to push the envelope even further, with many soon-to-be homeowners and new tenants saying they are willing to pay more for smart homes.

In the Smart Home Buyers Index 2024 conducted by Samsung, nearly 86 percent of British buyers and renters now consider a smart home when choosing to relocate. Even more, around 25 percent of potential British home movers have said that smart technology is a “must have” and is no longer considered a luxury but perhaps a necessity.

Changes in buyer and renter behavior, and how individuals view smart home technology, beyond those basic tools we’ve become accustomed to, have increased competition in the market.

Developers, contractors, and builders are being forced to rethink how they will be planning, designing, and building future homes, as the majority of current homeowners are using smart devices due to their level of convenience and time savings.

In addition to adapting to a changing consumer market, considerations such as improved safety and security take a more important role in the future of what our homes will look like. Roughly two in three American adults have acquired a smart home device due to certain events unfolding over the last 12 months, and among these were security-related devices being the most likely desired.

With roughly seven in ten homebuyers looking to purchase a smart home, and with 78 percent of them willing to pay more for a home that’s already kitted out with smart devices, the future of the real estate market will look a lot different in the years to come.

Taking into consideration the pace at which property prices have increased over the past few years, as demand continues to outpace supply, materials and labor costs soar, and the influx of new residents moving back into more urban areas, many entering the market are likely to be met with elevated prices and dismal availability.

Take, for example, major cities such as Toronto, Ontario, where rental prices have surged by nearly 10% since last year. Considering how many people live in Toronto, the rapidly rising population due to favorable immigration policies, and an overall better standard of living, demand, and changing market behavior will leave many priced out, further widening the housing inequality issue many cities are faced with.

Can AI Make Our Homes Smarter?

Artificial technology has been designed to provide users with added convenience, aside from ordinary automation activities that have become a common feature in smart home devices.

Integrating AI capabilities with smart home technology will create a more advanced ecosystem that allows homeowners and renters to have full control over all aspects of their homes, removing current limitations and introducing the interoperability of AI technology and smart home devices.

Real-Time Insights

Data is a crucial element that perhaps forms the foundation of artificial intelligence. By allowing AI tools to monitor certain aspects of our everyday lives, such as day-to-day behavior at home, digital tools will have access to real-time insights that can help improve actionable results.

Aqara’s Home Copilot system can help to analyze various usage patterns, which in turn can help suggest more personalized automation. This Generative AI technology can understand how users talk, which devices they frequently use, and use real-time insights to provide customized analysis and proactive assistance.

Comprehensive Pattern Identification

In other parts of the house, such as the bedroom, artificial intelligence sensors can now monitor sleeping patterns, analyze users' health conditions, and adjust sleeping arrangements, such as mattresses and pillows, to more optimal positions. These activities will help to redefine the overall sleep experience and can provide near-term support for multiple individuals.

These activities can track certain parameters that can adjust the entire bedroom environment based on predetermined needs. By analyzing the user experience and delivering real-time insights, AI sensors can help build a personalized bedroom experience without requiring users to manually provide input demands.

Immersive Experiences

Our homes are our sanctuaries, and it’s the one private place in a chaotic world where we can feel safe and out of touch with the forces around us. By employing AI capabilities, along with smart home technology, we can create a fully personalized environment based on our cognitive needs.

Existing systems such as Govee AI are helping to create more intelligent capabilities that can offer more immersive experiences in our homes. Govee AI can analyze certain parameters, and create in-home scenes that are based on your current mood.

Things such as automatically adjusting the lighting scenes in your homes to fit a specific environment can create a more immersive experience. Having color-changing lights for movies or sporting events on TV can help add a more cinematic feeling to your time in front of the big screen.

Will It Be Worth It?

The answer anyone is looking for will be riddled with complicated results, and for many people, introducing artificial intelligence into their homes, the only place where they can feel safe from the outside world might feel somewhat invasive.

Questions regarding privacy concerns, and allowing an artificial system to monitor and track every move and action can create a somewhat dystopian outlook for individuals who are not quite convinced about the prospects of artificial intelligence as part of creating a smarter and more autonomous home.

For a handful of us, it’s possible to see the near-term benefits of using AI as part of building an immersive and customized home experience. Having full control over everything and anything from anywhere can become a major driving force going forward.

Aside from the questions over privacy and ethical concerns, it’s perhaps rather important for us to consider how smart homes can benefit us over the coming years more effectively, and how we can leverage the appropriate amount of digital tools and artificial technology to create the perfect home we’ve always wanted.