eightbittech Design

How can we create smarter homes that work together

The amount of smart devices entering the market is growing, with all major tech brands now flogging some form of smart assistant, household brands bringing in smart bulbs, toasters, microwaves, toilet seats. Okay the last one might be a bit of an exaggeration, but who knows?

But I don’t think we’re quite there yet with full smart homes yet. Here’s why:

The integrated system is patchy

We have things like Works with Google, Amazon Alexa Skills and works with Homekit. So you can control everything seamlessly… kind of. Let’s talk about lights, which are a great example because there are so many of them around now.

In a seamless integrated world, you’d purchase your light, whether that’s from IKEA Smart range or the market leading Philips Hue system. Take that bulb home, plug it into a socket and then tell your smart home system that you’ve got it and set it up.

What really happens is if you want a single smart light, you need to buy a light, buy a light switch, buy a bridge, set all of that up at home, create an account with whoever you chose as your light bulb provider, set up the light in there, the your smart home that you have done this so you can then add your light to your assistant.

This immediately makes the smart home less smart and insecure because you end up with a bunch of accounts that you might or might not use and what happens if you want to have a couple of different lights? Do you need several different bridges to accommodate for that?

This is not an integrated system – I don’t want seven different accounts for light bulbs

How do we fix it? I think what annoys me most about this whole thing is that everyone has a bridge that I bet could work effectively with multiple bulbs. I have a Google Home account, which works in the cloud, I have a router, and several home devices. Any one of these could act as a bridge.

Companies are currently in a battle to get you on a mailing list, the more users they have in their system then the better they look to their management – it’s a successful product. But this creates a bad user experience and a lot of physically wasteful products.

Google Home is one of the first and leading smart home devices

In order to create the next generation of smart home, companies need to stop thinking about how many physical users they can get signed up and think more about what makes it easier for people to connect, how do they make their products fit seamlessly into the system so more people want them in their house.

This makes things better for users and more secure

The seamless integration of product into a singular smart home ecosystem will give users the ability to expand their system and experiment with different brands. Only then can we fully move into a better, more automated, future of home automation.

But this system helps secure the smart home, because the more devices and accounts you have makes your house much more vulnerable. A singular super secure account enables a lot of minds to focus on creating less doorways and more security, although it potentially gives a single company more information on a person.

Government and regulators are far too outdated for the modern world. If we are to see the smart home and home automation advance at a good pace so technology can evolve then government and regulations need to step up. We are currently stuck in a free for all that no one can break away from and the problem with security, data, and technology is only going to get worse until something really bad happens