by Tony Chambers on 01/03/2021
Imagine a home which it totally built around our very personalities, our work, our lives. Fine tuned and inter-connected to everything we do and desire. It’s probably a whole lot closer than you think.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term coined to define all objects and devices – from coffee machines to fridges, from smartphones to wearables – which are digitally connected to each other, are connected to the internet, and which unite our digital and our physical worlds.
Put simply, we now have the capability to take all the physical things in our lives, in our homes, and connect them to the internet. In doing so, we make these things ‘smart’.
Well, the prospect of a progressive lifestyle utopia where we are all relieved of the tedium of repetitive boring uninspiring everyday chores – freeing us up to do more meaningful, rewarding and inspiring things – whether for work or leisure at home, is a real game-changer.
The hyper-connected kitchen is already a reality – simplifying our lives by tailoring automated appliance tasks to fit around our daily activity. Already many of us live automated domestic lives to an extent – programmed appliances and devices include video door alarms to scare off intruders, cameras in fridges which can tell you if you’ve run out of essentials, pre-programmed coffee machines which make your coffee whenever you want it and to your personalised taste, lighting programmed in every room to suit the time of day and mood, robot vacuum cleaners, smart weighing scales, energy meters to regulate your heating and allow you to adjust from wherever you are – this list of possibilities keeps on growing.
Smart devices can also tell us a lot about how we live and use our homes by observing our habits and behaviours. And of course this information is dynamite to home and lifestyle manufacturing companies and brands. Greater understanding of consumer behaviour and how we use and interact with our homes and all the things therein through increasing data collection, will allow the development of ever more relevant smart devices to empower our experiences and needs. The smart home market is now a huge growth area, accelerating through new technological developments as well as socio-economic changes such as the current pandemic and the growing focus on the value of our home lives – linking our work, family, entertaining (in due course), wellness, exercise and leisure.
The increasing sophistication of 3 technologies converging – IoT, 5G and AI – is predicted to bring ever greater consumer lifestyle benefits and convenience to both home work and leisure through greater speed, connectivity, intelligence capabilities and data sharing across an ever wider range of devices which are woven into the very fabric of our home lives.
This will allow us all to have more personalised daily processes. Our connected home devices will learn our unique individual patterns through what we do everyday, automating our tasks and daily chores, which we can remotely control if necessary, allowing us constant access to our homes, no matter where we are. Predictive maintenance sensors will alert us to important issues which need fixing, or tell us when we need to order replacement parts, or when we are running low on a product and need to restock/refill.
For brands to survive in this new disruptive age packed with innovation – the level of seamless convenience built into products and services could well determine which brands survive and succeed. Homeware brands like IKEA are well ahead in seizing the opportunity – they have even created a new business unit called IKEA Home Smart, totally dedicated to the development of smart home technology integrated into every consumer touchpoint.
Whether for work, play, entertaining or socialising, intelligent devices will continue to transform everyday life. High quality audio, high definition cameras and lighting, 3D virtual environment experiences which make the virtual world almost physical, digital screens which follow you as you move around the room, intelligent air filtration systems, smart baths and smart showers, voice activated mirrors, smart toothbrushes which can spot oral health issues and advise on better care, smart gardens growing fresh everyday ingredients in our homes… everything you can imagine suddenly becomes possible!
Devices will become more ‘human’ too. Robots will replace Alexa, aided by AI voice and face recognition – domestic helpers that do a multitude of tasks to help around the house – from helping you carry things from one place to the next, to home security, to entertaining or educating the kids. Our homes will become ever more sentient and responsive to us – intuitively adjusting in real-time to our personalised needs and desires, based on our known behaviours.
Taking powerful new data on our behaviours and shopping habits from our growing network of connected domestic tools, will allow new opportunities for improved and new products.
For marketing teams and creative agencies, these insights will allow us to build powerful stories which will help brands engage consumers and help them realise these exciting new home lifestyle possibilities. Research consistently shows that consumers are baffled by smart technology and struggle to see the potential in adding value to everyday tasks – the huge opportunity for agencies such as our team at ONE is to really simplify the brand experience and clearly convey the transformative benefits to customers. Great storytelling. Bringing new smart products alive in clear simple easy-to-understand but imaginative and increasingly personalised terms.
An exciting modern connected life where everything seamlessly flows around our every movement and daily routine, synchronised and highly personal to each of us and our individual unique needs, careers, ambitions, pleasures and adventures.