The Smart Home Industry in 2016 didn’t saw much innovation in terms of devices. However, more and more huge tech companies decided to step into the home automation scene. Here are some of the most notable moments and news for the smart home from 2016.
The new year is just around the corner and we can’t help, but feel a bit nostalgic. Every year one of the main questions people ask themselves is how did December manage to show up on the calendar so quickly. While we will never be able to answer this question, the undeniable truth is that with the short news attention span we all have thanks to the internet, we often forget the timeline of any notable events in a given industry. That’s why, we’ve decided to take a look at the smart home industry in 2016 and quickly go through the most notable moments and news for the smart home from 2016.
The Battle of the Robot Vacuum Cleaners
For decades, the robot vacuum cleaner has been helping us imagine a better and brighter future for home automation. While just a few years back, these tiny robot vacuums were all the rage in the smart home world, today they are slowly stepping back to let other home automation innovations take the spotlight. The Neato and the Roomba were fighting it out to see who’s the best one, when Dyson’s 360 Eye appeared on the market. Hyped beyond belief, the 360 was said to be the next big thing, but it only helped us see what we already knew, which is that robotic vacuum cleaners will never be able to replace real vacuums. Of course, this is not because of lack of innovation, but it comes down to sheer sucking power and size. While Dyson did deliver on sucking, it definitely was too big to maneuver around your home as the Roomba does. And all this commotion and the lackluster unveiling of the hyped 360 eye resulted in a lack of interest from the public.
Google’s Answer to Everyone
The robotic vacuum cleaner market was quickly overshadowed by new announcements from huge tech companies. Google, in a true Google fashion, decided to step back, look at the big picture, and deliver an answer to basically everyone. Just a few months back, Google outplayed Apple in their presentation game and announced the Google Daydream smartphone available in ironically named colors. In an answer to Samsung’s GearVR headset, Google unveiled their Daydream VR headset. However, what was truly exciting about the smart home industry in 2016 was the unveiling of Google’s Assistant software, Google’s Home smart hub sand Google Wi-Fi.
Taking on the Amazon Echo, the Google Home hub did manage to prove to be a worthy competitor in the smart home hub speaker department. What’s more, we do believe that Google Home marked the beginning of a new trend in the smart home industry. Up until now, as you can note with the Amazon Echo, smart home devices were mostly proof-of-concept, in a sense that they were showing what we can achieve with the current innovation in technology. Moving forward, we do believe that new smart home devices will have more of the feel of the Google Home, designed so that they seamlessly fit into your home, almost merging with the background interior design and helping you without truly being an obstruction.
Amazon Alexa Everywhere and Everyone Going IFTTT
Despite the new competitor, 2016 did prove to be one of the best years for Amazon Alexa integration. Highly focused on their goal to deliver a more seamless smart home experience, Amazon managed to more than double the list of supported devices for their voice integration Amazon Alexa software platform. Fighting on the same front, a lot of home appliance and smart home device manufacturers and even app developers started appreciating the potential of IFTTT. While both IFTTT and Alexa integration were introduced with simplicity in mind, a truly seamless smart home experience still requires a lot of work and dedication from home automation enthusiasts to set up and is not truly an easy thing to do.
New Smart Home Enthusiasts, Same Issues
With growing investments in the smart home industry in 2016, it was unsurprising that numerous companies decided to indulge in surveys and research about the potential of the market. Nevertheless, the results weren’t that surprising. While the number of smart homes has been steadily growing, so has the number of homeowners who consider home automation technology to be too complicated. In fact, the numbers were quite stunning. More than 88% of homeowners stated that they would prefer a more seamless smart home experience with one of the main reasons pointed out being the clustering of different smartphone applications for each little smart home device they own.
Smart Home Security Slipped Under the Radar
In an uncertain year with multiple hacks in major countries, including the US, smart home security quite surprisingly did manage to slip under the radar. While, there were advances in the security of smart homes, it wasn’t a big topic in the smart home industry in 2016. In fact, with the surrounding hype generated by almost every huge tech company getting on the smart home bandwagon, smart home tech did become a certainty in the future of homes.
The First Sparks of the Upcoming Smart Home Revolution
This year was one of the biggest years for investment in IoT and smart home tech. Even though the smart home industry in 2016 didn’t end up seeing a lot of notable innovations made, the fact of the matter is that we did manage to see the first sparks of the upcoming smart home revolution. While some revolutions are loud and clear, others are slow, but steady and certain. Our team at BuildYourSmartHome.co does believe that the smart home revolution is of the second kind.
Home automation might be considered a niche industry for hobbyists, but we are starting to see the unavoidable integration of smart home technology in our lives. Our dishwashers are smart, our fridges are smarter than ever and things will go from there. We don’t necessarily think that you are going to frantically change every plug in your home with a smart one. However, we do believe that in a few years time, when you are making renovations in your home, your electrician will install smart home plugs, just because they will be a standard. We don’t think that you will be spending hours trying to create an IFTTT recipe just to make your smart thermostat work with the location sensors in your smartphone. However, we do believe that in a regular software update, you will be given easier options, regardless of your smartphone manufacturer or smart thermostat brand.
We do believe that the smart home industry in 2016 saw the sparks of a new revolution, a quiet one. While some are waiting for the huge spike in smart home hype, we do think that outside of the rather small home automation enthusiasts community, there won’t be much hype. Instead, innovative new devices will start appearing in homes around the world, blending in the interior just like any other home appliance, while making your life easier in a truly automated smart home.