Home Smart Homes: Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Connected Home

Smart home technology has its applications in household appliances, home safety & security, lighting, and entertainment. Key industries have started integrating artificial intelligence with smart devices to enable connectivity among these devices.

AI encompasses the ability to connect multiple IoT devices, coupled with superior processing and learning abilities, and use them to pre-empt human behavior. AI-powered smart home devices can interact with each other and acquire new data that assists in learning human habits. Data collected is used to predict the behavior of users and develop situational awareness, i.e., understand user preferences and change parameters accordingly.

The Rise of Digital Assistants: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby

Apart from its application in home security systems, artificial intelligence is utilized to control smart devices with the voice control feature of AI-enabled units, such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Advanced home security systems can also be controlled through voice commands. Researchers are focused on bringing in innovation in the field of voice recognition technology that will further add value to voice control devices. Latest advancements in home automation systems can enable owners to gain access to hands-free channel surfing and control Bluetooth speakers. The emergence of the voice assistant feature also raises security concerns, as some researchers have managed to hack smart devices through inaudible.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Proactively Analyze Potential Home Security Issues

The increasing need to improve home security has propelled the implementation of AI-powered devices. These devices encompass a variety of features, including threat analysis, facial recognition, and smart home integration, which, in turn, safeguards homeowners from security threats.

AI-powered machines can easily recognize objects or faces owing to the pattern/face recognition feature. Face recognition can easily check facial landmarks, such as cheekbones, eyes, chin, etc., and compare them with the existing data. Furthermore, these machines can send notifications to the home owner’s smartphone regarding visitors at the front door. Most advanced home security cameras can identify the faces of family members, friends, and pets.

Artificial intelligence can also help next-generation home security systems to actively monitor and analyze for potential security threats. These systems are configured with artificial intelligence logic, which, in turn, has facilitated the development of a tailored suite of countermeasures to protect the house. It is expected that AI-powered smart cameras will play a vital role in home security. These cameras can record HD videos and automatically store them in the cloud for future reference. With the help of smart connected apps, an individual can have a clear view of his/her house to safeguard from security threats.

AI is also used in smart locks, which can be controlled through smartphones. AI-enabled smart locks offer numerous security benefits, such as limited reliance on physical keys for access, temporary access to guests, and regular video streams of individuals ringing the doorbell. Biometric door locks such as Kwikset, August, and Samsung can be integrated into Google, Samsung, and Amazon’s smart home ecosystem.

Smoke Alarms to Think, Speak, and Alert the User with the Help of Artificial Intelligence

Sophisticated smoke alarms that can think and alert the user with the help of artificial intelligence are currently available in the market. Some of the smart features of smoke alarms include providing notification on phones regarding low battery and issuing alerts in case of smoke or carbon monoxide leaks, and pinpointing the location where there has been a fire or smoke outbreak. These alarms can also be put on silent mode. Smoke detectors use the voice alert feature to notify the first sign of smoke, which facilitates improved response during emergencies.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology to Assist in Daily Household Activities

Artificial intelligence is powerful. It mimics the knowledge and learning abilities of humans, all on a technological basis. Recent developments in smart home automation systems have led to improvements in artificial intelligence in terms of communicating with the cloud, learning human behavioral patterns, and automating smart home devices according to user preferences.

LG developed DeepThinQ 1.0 technology that supports voice and video recognition and transmits information to cloud servers. It can automate various activities, such as turning off lights when the door is locked from the outside, running the robotic vacuum in the owner’s absence, and turning on the air purifier before the owner reaches home. The LG washer studies human habits and automatically learns as well as applies those settings. The washer can further guide how to dry various types of load. The washer and the dryer can communicate with the cloud and can adjust operations based on climate and air quality. The LG air conditioner can detect the number of people inside the room and their identity and can keep the temperature according to their preferences. ThinQ can also play music and adjust car temperatures.

Samsung integrated its SmartThings smart home family of products with Bixby voice control. These products can recognize individuals in the house and adjust all settings according to a person’s preference. The owner can control any smart device through its voice with the help of a Samsung TV or family hub refrigerator. The SmartThings app can also help the owner download streaming apps and sign-in automatically. The Samsung cloud stores all login details of users and offers a simple and convenient solution to keep a backup of data. The Samsung TV can display the person at the front door and act as a hub for other smart devices.

Viaroom Home offers a self-learning home controller that studies the habits of an individual within 48 hours. It creates a map of each room and controls both lighting and heating appliances. The controller has a specially designed firewall to protect smart homes from hackers.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Distributed Energy Generation and EV Charging

Artificial intelligence also finds application in distributed energy generation, as it integrates automatic energy storage systems with distributed energy sources to store and utilize electricity. Devices such as Tesla Powerwall can store electricity in energy storage systems so that it can be utilized at night or during a power outage. This further encourages smart homes to reduce their dependency on the electricity grid.

Artificial intelligence can be used to minimize the electricity bill consumed for EV charging by analyzing the entire load demand with the variable tariff structure of the utility. Hence, it can advise EV owners regarding the timeline during which EVs can be charged with less tariff power. It also helps utility companies conduct demand-side management and maintain grid frequency. In the future when the commercialized vehicle to grid technologies are in place, the role of these technologies will be further intensified.

Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role by using data—including grid data, smart meter data, weather data, and energy use information—to study and improve building performance, optimize resource consumption, and increase comfort and cost-efficiency for residents.

What is the future for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Smart Homes?

There’s an increasing trend with residential households being “smart” — which experts predict will surpass 300 million homes in 2023. With the growth of the smart homes market, new security threats are expected to rise. Wirelessly connected devices are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hence, safeguarding connected devices from security threats and vulnerabilities is essential to gain the trust of homeowners and increase the sale of smart home devices. For example, in 2016, Mirai IoT botnet took control of several smart home devices, such as security cameras, routers, and air quality monitors; this affected close to 600,000 devices worldwide, resulting in redirecting massive amount of web traffic and suspending services for websites, such as Twitter and Netflix.

On the other hand, companies are trying to integrate artificial intelligence with emotions. LG has provided a cheerful personality to its Clio robot, whereas Sony is adding a unique personality and emotion to its next-generation Aibo Robotic dogs. With the help of EmoShape’s Emotion Processing, personal assistants and avatars can have 12 emotions, which include pleasure, frustration, pain, and satisfaction, among others. The Emotion Processing unit can control the facial expression and body language of a robot or an avatar on a desktop screen.

Google added multilingual support so that the Google Assistant can understand and speak more than one language at a time. This helped the Assistant understand the language of family members in bilingual homes. With advancements in speech recognition, one can speak two languages interchangeably with the Assistant.

There have been cases wherein devices were enabled when not necessary and humans were required to intervene and make decisions or fix any mistakes. For artificial intelligence to be ubiquitous, current-generation systems need to function without human intervention.

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