The smart home of the future is on our doorstep

Asit Goel, SVP and general manager Business
Line Secure Monitoring and Control, NXP

Robot maids? Voice-activated appliances? Automatic meals? The smart home of the Jetsons, America’s favourite space-age family, is hovering ever closer to reality. And in 2016 it will arrive on our doorstep.

Devices like the Roomba, Echo, NFC-labeled recipe for microwaves, Nest, Ecobee Thermostat, Siri and more have made their way into our homes, adding convenience to our lives. What’s next?

Here are three areas where I predict the home will get smarter in the coming year, says Asit Goel, senior vice president and general manager Business Line Secure Monitoring and Control at NXP Semiconductors.

The smart home ecosystem will strengthen

In the past, the various players in the smart home universe had trouble playing together. The device makers, service providers and platform vendors could never seem to get on the same page. Finally, we’re seeing clear signs that the big ecosystem players are collaborating to become ‘technology agnostic.’

In 2016, cooperation will accelerate, with more players making technologies compatible via digital handshakes, where we should see more smart connected home devices from living room to kitchen to bedrooms – and access to homes. The gateway is technology agnostic, interoperable to enable multiple consumer services for safety, convenience and energy savings. These kinds of partnerships are vital to convincing consumers that there is value in the smart home.

Once the big ecosystem players truly ‘interoperate’ the feedback loop will shift positive and each new generation of smart home devices will make additional devices even more compelling and convenient.

Smart devices will evolve from nice-to-haves to must-haves

Sure, a network-connected Wi-Fi coffee machine that can be remotely activated via a smartphone is a nice to have – it means a hot cup of house blend will be waiting for you when you get home. But it’s must-have devices and services that will drive the market forward and bring the nice-to-haves along with them.

Services like home security and energy management are critical because they offer the consumer the most value. For example, knowing your kids are home leaves you less worried, or saving energy helps your pocketbook and the environment.

What’s more helpful if devices can talk, work and sync together to save pounds? The leading edge of the securely connected devices in a home, all working together to help, assist you running the house in most safer, efficient and convenient manner, gives you more time to spend with your family.

Convenience will become critical

You can’t expect your grandmother to buy a smart lightbulb if it means she has to fiddle with the WiFi router or manually connect the lamp to a home gateway. If the setup process is even remotely technical, the smart home will never happen in a big way. We’ve been focused on building solutions to help device manufacturers simplify the smart home for consumers. Making it as easy as tap to install and commission a smart device is required. That’s why we integrate NFC technology in our smart home products and solutions for product makers.

Tap-and-go NFC technology makes it simple to commission, de-commission, troubleshoot and service any smart device. NFC will emerge as one of the most important technologies of 2016 because it’s the easiest way to set up devices in the home.

Smart homes are the future. And the future is finally here. Smart home devices and services will become more functional, more convenient and thus more prevalent in the coming year.

The author of this blog is Asit Goel, senior vice president and general manager Business Line Secure Monitoring and Control at NXP Semiconductors. He joined NXP in January 2015 to drive opportunities for NXP in the Internet of Things domain.

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