Should You Be Excited About a Facebook Smart Home AI System?

Recent talks from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have raised speculation that the company will be revealing a new home automation AI assistant. Even though there still isn’t an official date about the unveil of a Facebook Smart Home AI system, trends in the smart home market show that Zuckerberg might have a slight shot at revolutionizing the home automation industry. 

At a recent Facebook town hall Q&A session, which was live-streamed on Facebook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared some exciting information about recent home automation projects he has been working on. During the Q&A Zuckerberg shared that as a part of his annual “personal challenge” he set to build an artificial intelligence smart home assistant that is able to help him control the smart devices in his home. Comparing the AI to the infamous fictional AI Jarvis from the Iron Man franchise, Zuckerberg shared his huge enthusiasm about the project, but failed to mention any exciting capabilities of the smart home assistant that might entice home automation enthusiasts.

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Mark Zuckerberg at the Rome Townhall Q&A Meeting on the 29th of August, 2016

“I got it to this point where now I can control the lights, I can control the gates, I can control the temperature,” shared Zuckerberg, further adding “[the AI]just sees my face and lets me in.” This sounds far away from Jarvis, as anyone familiar with the Iron Man franchise would tell you. However, the bigger problem is that the speculated Facebook Smart Home AI assistant doesn’t sound anything remotely different than what some home automation products have already delivered on the market. For example, The Amazon Echo is already satisfying customers by being a voice controlled hub, that lets its users control the smart devices in their homes. Furthermore, security cameras and software, such as the Netatmo, already integrate and offer their customers advanced face recognition capabilities for their homes.

A Highly Competitive Smart Home Market

Another thing detrimental to the success of a possible Facebook Smart Home solution, even before any information about it has been presented, is the fact that all the major companies have already presented their take on what a Smart Home assistant should look like.

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Google Home (on the left) and Amazon Echo (on the right) Smart Home Devices

We’ve previously discussed that one of the major issues people have with home automation is the fact that a seamless smart home experience is quite difficult to achieve. In order to make your smart home truly smart, you would have to spend a large sum of money to purchase all kinds of different home automation devices, have the knowledge and time to install them and then, finally, connect them to your smart home hub or assistant, so you are able to control them more easily. No matter how advanced it is, a Facebook Smart Home AI assistant wouldn’t be able to make any of the steps easier. This makes the chances of Facebook revolutionizing the home automation market even slimmer.

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Apple has introduced Apple Home to its iOS 10 users and devices, announcing it earlier this year

Recently, Apple has introduced a Smart Home application to their iOS devices, that acts like a home automation hub, allowing users to control devices in their smart home with the help of the iOS AI assistant Siri. As we’ve previously shown, it would be difficult even for a company such as Apple, to change the home automation market. This is the case, because smart home enthusiasts already have solutions in their smart homes that present them with such capabilities. Having in mind the difficult, tedious and time-consuming process of having to set up a smart home hub, it’s hard to see how someone who has already installed and is satisfied with their home automation set-up go through the process again, for no apparent reason and without being presented with new capabilities.

Where does that leave a possible Facebook Smart Home AI solution?

As hard as it may be to look at the facts, the truth is simple. A Facebook Smart Home AI solution simply doesn’t have a huge chance at gaining high traction among smart home enthusiasts. Of course, as we know pretty much nothing about the possible solution, there is still a slight chance that Zuckerberg may provide the home automation market with something exciting enough to be worth the attention of the smart home market.

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For example, here’s an idea that Zuckerberg should be investing his smart home AI development time in. He already stated that his wife isn’t allowed to control the temperature in his home, because the AI listens only to his voice. Why not add a feature that changes the voice control permissions based on the user’s settings.

Imagine having friends over and you want to show them your voice controlled AI assistant as well as the new home automation solutions you have installed. You, as the main person on the system, could say “Change Voice Control Settings to ‘Friends’ mode.” Now all your friends will be able to test out your voice controlled assistant. If you add a nice personality to the AI, such as the one Siri has, the AI assistant would be able to provide you and your friends with a fun experience. This will turn the irritative moments of not having your voice recognized right when you are showing off your smart home to your friends, to a fun time with them, trying to get voice recognition to work with them.

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Furthermore, while devices like the Amazon Echo recognize multiple people, they usually require a change of users. Once the voice recognition software is trained to the specific voices of different users in the house, have a “family mode” for example, that will listen to any of the users in the house, without having to shout different commands in order to change users every single time.

Mark Zuckerberg to Show Off His New AI Assistant This Month

We hope that Mark Zuckerberg actually ends up checking out our ideas. Of course, we further hope that he will be able to present us with a truly revolutionary Facebook Smart Home AI system. In the Q&A he further stated, as shared by our friends at The Verge, that he is eager to demo his new AI solution and that he is planning to do so this month. However, until we see the demo or until we hear anything official, everything is just speculation.

What do you think about the possible Facebook Smart Home AI system? Be sure to share your ideas about how Zuckerberg would be able to make a change in the smart home market by sharing them on the comments below.

For more information, news and tutorials on the Home Automation and Smart Home world, make sure to stay tuned to BuildYourSmartHome.co

1 Comment

  1. This article places much focus on voice as the main interface of the home and whilst useful we can see from Siri adoption people still aren’t using this as the go-to interface for normal operating. Tony Fadell spoke on having an intuitive home like Viva Labs and this is something you can get excited about. http://www.meetviva.com

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