Smart homes: What’s in store for 2024?

Nowadays, the phrase ‘home is where the tech is’ defines modern living, as South Africans increasingly adopt smart home innovations. These advancements are continuing to adapt and evolve in their capabilities, which not only improve convenience and security but can also decrease energy consumption – contributing to cost savings.

This is according to Dr Andrew Dickson, engineering executive at CBI-electric: low voltage, who says that in 2024, homes will become even more high-tech in terms of the efficiency, functionality and personalised living experiences they provide. “We may still be a few years away from homes resembling those dreamt up by sci-fi movies, but we are already heading in the direction of smart technology becoming less of a luxury and more of a staple in modern homes.”

Below, he shares four trends that will help make South African homes smarter this year:

Improved Internet speed

What the rollout of more 5G will mean for smart homes is lightning-fast Internet speeds, instantaneous communication between devices, and the ability to connect even more gadgets within a smart home ecosystem for seamless integration and control. It will also allow for greater stability and reliability, which will prove particularly useful when it comes to monitoring and controlling critical systems remotely in real time.

Ultimately, the rollout of 5G is poised to elevate the capabilities of smart home technologies, making them even more intelligent and efficient.

In addition, Wi-Fi 7 is set to roll out in the country this year, which will improve Internet connectivity to devices in the home, extend range, and promises to deliver nearly five times the speed of Wi-Fi 6. This, however, is also reliant on the release of more spectrum and regulatory approvals.

Incorporation of artificial intelligence

Leveraging its data analysis and processing capabilities, AI discerns user patterns, utilising these insights to anticipate and implement homeowners’ future decisions and choices. By integrating AI into smart home devices, these products can learn and adapt to a user’s habits and preferences, optimising efficiency, intuitiveness and responsiveness. Consequently, homes become attuned to the unique needs and preferences of their inhabitants. A practical illustration of this is a smart lighting system employing AI to automatically adjust the lighting throughout the entire home in accordance with the time of day or the user’s activities.

AI will also assist homeowners who may not be tech-savvy by offering them the opportunity to implement advanced automation with their smart devices without the need for manual programming.

In the future, generative AI will make smart homes even smarter. Soon, these tools will not only help identify appliances that require preventative maintenance but also set up appointments with service providers for their upkeep based on the homeowner’s schedule and availability.

Smarter security

Technological innovations are becoming increasingly incorporated into various smart home security systems. Take, for example, the evolution of smart locks, which are now activatable through various interfaces such as fingerprint recognition, PIN codes, voice recognition and phone apps.

Blockchain is also set to play a crucial role in fortifying smart home security systems, rendering them more resilient and resistant to potential hackers.

Additionally, AI has the potential to analyse residents’ behavioural patterns, promptly notifying homeowners and their security companies if there are deviations or unusual activities within the premises.

Energy optimisation

Anticipating a 20 200MW energy shortfall in 2024, homeowners are turning to smart home technologies like those in the CBI Astute Range of products to monitor and manage energy consumption. These technologies collect and analyse vast amounts of data, helping users identify areas for improvement.

Plus, automation can assist them in adjusting their usage, even when they’re not at home.

Additionally, as more South Africans embrace rooftop solar, smart technology enables the effortless integration of renewable energy sources to combat the impacts of loadshedding while also ensuring the power produced is used effectively and efficiently.

“In 2024, smart homes will become sanctuaries of innovation, enriching the lives of South Africans and heralding a future where homes understand, adapt and even pre-empt the unique needs of their residents,” concludes Dr Dickson.

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