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LeWeb Trends Review: What will smart homes look like?

Pierre Ziemniak Highlighted, Trends

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What began as a dream for many startups and investors is now a reality: the “Internet of Things” is everywhere and likely to conquer all areas of life, from smartwatches to thermostats to connected cars, not to mention all the wearable technologies that have emerged in the past few years. What will home space look like in a not-so-distant future? This Trends Review will give you some clues as to how our lives will be transformed.

StrategyEye doesn’t doubt that “we’re entering an age where everything is set to sync, communicate and collaborate with the entire world around us”  the age of the “Real World Web'”, according to PSFK! However, the current revolution is bound to encounter obstacles along the way, especially in terms of communication between devices. That should change rapidly, as VCs keep investing in all things connected to improve their efficiency  StrategyEye tracked more than $1,1bn being invested across 85 deals in the past 18 months. As the chart below shows, specific “IoT” funds invest in a wide range of areas, from energy efficiency to wearable tech.

Strategy Eye Deal Data smart home

 Chart via StrategyEye Deal Data

The target place for most IoT investors remains the same, though: our very houses, where “many products and services have already crossed over into the IoT, including kitchen and homes applicances”, as Business Insider notes. There is more: quoting a study by Berg Insight, StrategyEye points out that there will be 36m smart homes in Europe and the US by 2017! That could explain why so many startups target our kitchens and living rooms, in the vein of the successful Nest, bought by Google early this year:

 “Needless to say there are startups hoping to break into consumers’ homes. LIFX raised $12m in June from Sequoia for its smartphone-controlled light bulbs, SNUPI brought in $7.3m January for its leak and damaging detecting wall sensors and smart doorbell Doorbot took $1m in December.” Take a look at the smartphone-controlled LIFX light bulbs:

 

 

Home automation solutions, smart fridges and new kinds of doorbells: despite the wide array of functions performed by these new devices, they make our smartphones even more essential to our lives, as virtually all of these inventions are phone-controlled! Even our sleep may become phone-controlled in the near future, thanks to startups likes Sense. TechCrunch explains that Sense is “a sleep-tracking device that measures temperature, humidity and ambient light”  an efficient way to expand the smart home revolution to our bedrooms… And definitely a project worth your attention: as TechCrunch reports, Sense “crushed Kickstarter with $120k in a few hours”! Watch their presentation video right here:

 

 

With so many new smart devices in our homes, do we need to rethink our wireless networks? In other words, do smart homes need new radio standards to allow these devices to communicate between them? Nest, Samsung, ARM and four other tech companies don’t doubt it and recently joined their forces to create Thread, “a new standard that aims to supplant Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee as the ideal radio tech for the home”, Gigaom reports.

There will undoubtedly be many obstacles along the way for these startups, tech companies and VCs, but one thing is certain: the house of the future will be smart!

 

Top photo © iStock – Chesky_W