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How the Internet of Things (IoT) Could Shape the Home of the Future

Although smart homes can make our lives easier by controlling and optimising the use of utilities, security systems, and electronics, their widespread adoption is not as high as their potential.

For years, consumers have been assured that their homes will soon integrate leading edge technology that allows these properties to essentially run themselves, but the future has not arrived as quickly as expected.

It has been estimated that by the end of this year, only 16.3% of American homes will be run by smart technologies, although the percentage is expected to increase to 35.6% by 2021. The UK is in a similar position: according to a survey by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket, only 6% of respondents knew ‘a lot’ about IoT smart home technology.

In 2016, approximately 45% of all US homes that underwent renovation had IoT smart home systems installed. However, many consumers still have concerns that prevent the market from realising its full potential.

At present, the biggest obstacle to smart homes adoption is cost, which 42% of consumers see as a hindrance. There is also evidence that many homebuyers wanting to adopt smart technology are worried about devices being hacked: 17% of American buyers have security and privacy concerns, and 10% have reported that their smart home devices were actually hacked, forcing them to shell out money to correct the issue.

51% of UK consumers who responded to the MoneySuperMarket survey worry about hacking. The latter also expressed concerns over a virus disabling an essential device (43%) and being recorded without their knowledge (42%).

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Although high-tech security systems are a major reason why homeowners want to live in smarter homes, the majority of IT experts state that IoT smart home apps on the market today are far more difficult to secure than traditional mobile apps.

Once these concerns are addressed and remedial measures taken, the next logical step to develop an autonomous smart home that can learn and adapt based on the behaviours and habits of the owners. This type of home would recognize all occupants and adapt lighting, temperature, and other amenities automatically based on activity and lifestyle.

To achieve this level of intuition, literally everything would have to be connected. Your coffee maker would be connected to your alarm, your mattress would assess your sleep habits, and morning lighting would be adjusted to match changing preferences.

While uncertainties remain about what an autonomous smart home will actually look like, their inevitable use seems clear.

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