Traditional bricks-and-mortar homes are set to become more intelligent and more energy-efficient in the next few years.
Within five years, our homes could potentially transform into a futuristic utopia, and as technology companies foresee a 'Jetsons'-inspired home, the smart home is rapidly becoming a reality.
US research firm MarketsandMarkets reveals in its February 2015 'Smart Homes Market' report that the market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 17 per cent between 2015 and 2020 and reach a staggering $58.68bn by 2020.
The Internet of Things plays a crucial role in this boom, with uptake of intelligent household appliances such as washing machines, security systems and robotic vacuums all predicted to increase, says analyst firm IHS. It reports that less than one million smart-home appliances were shipped in 2014, but that will increase to 223 million shipments in 2020. Already household names are getting on board, with Google's Nest, Apple's HomeKit and Samsung's potential acquisition of SmartThings as examples.
As manufacturers gear up for this boom, some say consumer adoption may be slow due to lack of knowledge and concerns about security and data. However, a survey by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group found that 46 per cent of consumers believe smart home devices will be mainstream by 2020, and 66 per cent said being able to control their heating and lighting remotely would help them save energy and cut their costs. Furthermore, 73 per cent would like to receive notifications from their home security systems if a threat is detected and think smart security and monitoring should be part of the smart-home age.
Whilst smart appliances are predicted to flood the home to provide a life of ease and convenience, consumers see their future smart home as a way to keep safe and save on costs. The latter is where smart micro-generation systems are also playing a part. Micro-generation, where electricity is generated on a small scale from natural renewable resources, such as the sun, wind, and water, is not new, but it is becoming increasingly popular in home installations.
Though it may be a while before we live like the Jetsons, the typical bricks-and-mortar home is certainly changing to make our lives more convenient.