The U.S. leads the way in the smart home industry. 2018 saw revenue of over $23 billion dollars with over 27% of homes in the U.S. being smart homes. By 2023, almost 54% of homes will fit the category. (source)
Here is what we are expecting for smart homes trends of 2019!
Z-Wave Hubs - What's Next?
In 2019 I expect more z-wave hubs to offer integration with the various voice powered home assistants out there, like Alexa, Google Home, Bixby and maybe even Bank of America's Erica. These voice based assistants have gained a huge amount of popularity recently as the technology has improved and as confirmed by Forbes and many others, this trend is not going away in 2019.
If you're upgrading to a smart home, you'll need a Z-wave hub. This is like a router for your computer network, only it controls your smart home devices.
The hub operates on a different channel from your WiFi and Bluetooth. This avoids problems with interference to your computer network or smartphone. The hub is where you'll program all your smart home devices. You might already own smart technology devices, such as a television or refrigerator. Take a look at the type of Z-wave hub they'll interact with before you purchase your hub.
Smart home technology is now surprisingly affordable. And the convenience is hard to put a price on.
How about a sensor that knows when someone falls and sends an alert? The sensor uses radio waves for mapping and detection. When the sensor thinks someone has fallen, it calls out and asks you to stand up. If there is no activity detected after a period of time, the device alerts a caregiver designated by the user. This type of monitoring is a little more specific to people who need it, as opposed to the general lights and doors type security stuff, but as the population ages while simultaneously getting more comfortable with this tech, I think it will become more and more prevalent in 2019.
Money-Saving Smart Home Devices
Insurance claims are high when it comes to water damage in the home. How about a monitor that detects leaks and alerts your phone? Then you can turn the pipe off from your phone, even if you're not home!
Stopping flood damage before it starts is a great smart home feature. The monitor also works with Home Assistant and similar programs. Much like health insurance companies offering discounts for policy holders who can run a certain mile time, or participate in health screenings, I expect we'll see more companies offering discounts for homes equipped with monitoring devices. Perhaps a discount for a flood sensor with water shut off, or a connected smoker detector giving you a break on your homeowners policy.
Energy efficiency has always been a hallmark of home automation, I think in 2019 we'll see better application of machine learning and automation into the energy efficiency space. Building on the original learning thermostat the Nest, there are many others competing to keep you comfortable and save your energy dollars. I think a great innovation we could see more of is incorporating automation of passive home features, such as shades and windows that help gather passive solar heat or fans that can use cooler outside air at the right time to avoid the air conditioner coming on.
Smart Speakers - can they do more?
Smart speakers have been a central point in home automation for a while now, with Google and Amazon leading the way. These have recently evolved to include a screen so they can complete more requests than ever without you having to change to another device. Where will these devices go next? Its hard to picture whats left to do except maybe to enlarge that screen like Facebook is trying to do with their portal, and finally bring high definition video calling to the masses.
Always a central part of any smart home, lighting will probably remain the first thing that many homeowners add to their smart home plan. In 2019 I expect more and more users to opt for full customization, meaning not only automating the on and off functions of their lights, but also adding motion, darkness and proximity sensing in new places, and going for bulbs capable of a full spectrum of colors instead of just one.
We have written extensively on smart thermostats in 2018, in 2019 these will remain a very common first or second upgrade when making a home smarter. These are already able to control all functions of heating and cooling, in 2019 and beyond maybe we will start to see these controllers making decisions to operate other features of the home to save energy, such as blinds, fans, windows etc. The thermostat of the future may be more like a hub for all energy savings functions instead of just heating and cooling,
Kitchens are a great place for the convenience of smart devices. How about a smart refrigerator? Did you know refrigerators consume about 500-kilowatt hours per year of energy?
A smart refrigerator, like the Nest, can make money-saving decisions like when to run a defrost cycle. This saves money by reducing the refrigerator's energy needs.
Need to preheat your oven before you get home? Use your smartphone app. You can change the oven temperature through the phone too. Most importantly, you can turn the oven off from anywhere.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smart smoke detectors are available now. They're efficient and come at a reasonable price. Some of them have batteries that last up to 10 years! Most of the smart smoke detectors double as carbon monoxide detectors too.
At least one type of smoke detector doubles as a home sound system. Incorporating a speaker means the price is higher. But it's still reasonable considering the enhanced function.
Smart smoke detectors tell you what room the smoke is coming from. I think this will lead to integration with first responders in the future, so they know exactly where to go first.
Home Security in 2019
Your home wouldn't be "smart" if it didn't include home security. There are many different alarm and monitoring systems that are now smart. Security starts at the front door when someone steps onto your porch.
Install a video doorbell that allows you to see who's at the door. You can speak to the visitor through the doorbell. And you can do all this even if you're not at home!
The doorbell alerts your phone when someone is at the front door. They don't have to ring the doorbell. Sensors detect as soon as someone steps in front of the door.
Once you receive the alert, you're able to see who's there. Ignore them, answer the door, or speak to them through your phone. Or, if it's something more sinister, call the police.
This is a great safety feature.
Smart Home Trends
Smart home trends are the future. More than half of all homes in the U.S. will be smart homes by 2023. Smart home appliances save money, time, and even lives.
The big trends I am looking for in 2019 boil down to this:
- Better integration with all voice assistants
- Better and better software that will make things more seamless and more and more devices inter operable
- More comprehensive devices that can perform more than one function
- The appearance of video calling and addition of a new screen to your home (the assistant hub)
Looking for help wiring up your smart house? Get answers to your questions here.