In 2024, the smart house will be transformed. If you don’t believe me, consider how many of your home’s devices react to or can be managed by “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Siri.” Consider how many of those devices you had a year ago.
Smart home technology used to be defined primarily by the presence of one of the top smart speakers, a few smart lights, and possibly a smart thermostat. Perhaps some early adopters who went all-in had a few extras. However, we’ve witnessed the gradual but steady progress of Matter, the rise of AI, and the constant one-upmanship of rival companies attempting to make better, cheaper smart home gadgets than their competitors over the last year. We are truly on the verge of a revolution.
While it may not be as life-changing as the first time our great-grandparents switched on a light bulb, the march toward an intelligent, autonomous, and intuitively interactive home is rapidly accelerating. And 2024 might be a watershed moment, with more smart home goods on the market, as well as those with universal compatibility, AI built-in, and an emphasis on efficiency. There will also be robots.
The Matter standard may ultimately improve
For those of us who saw the open source standard Matter emerge at the end of 2022, it appeared to be a game changer in the field of smart home technology. This protocol, designed to break down boundaries between ecosystems, would let you to buy Matter-certified smart products that “work with Alexa” and use them in a different ecosystem. Despite the fact that 500 companies collaborated on this new standard, it does not appear to have made the intended impact, at least among the general public.
While we cannot declare 2024 to be the Year of Matter, version 1.2 was only published in October, bringing compatibility support for nine additional categories such as robot vacuums, air purifiers, dishwashers, and refrigerators to mention a few. Add to that the fact that when more new goods are introduced, more of them will include this standard, so it will be as widespread as we planned very soon.
For example, the SwitchBot K10 Plus, the first robot vacuum to support Matter, appeared in the last few months of 2023, and Panasonic just released a room air conditioner with the standard this December, albeit it appears to be available only in India. As time passes, more products will be released with the Matter.
The point is that, whether it remains a trickle or becomes a torrent, Matter will begin to matter more in 2024.
The next wave of smart home appliances
Smart hubs and lighting are already well established, so while we may expect more of them as Amazon releases new versions of the Echo, such as the new Echo Show 8, we can expect considerably more growth in other areas.
This year has already seen the introduction of smart home air purifiers, dishwashers, and other appliances. LG, for example, has a number of appliances that not only accept the ThinQ app, but can also connect that app to Alexa for hands-free control.
So, with one possible exception, 2024 may not necessarily bring us anything new. Instead, we will see a greater use of smart home products in the kitchen, laundry room, and elsewhere.
In fact, while firms are often tight-lipped before CES (which takes place from January 9th to the 12th this year), we anticipate a surge in smart home appliance announcements at the next convention. Consider the Pawport pet door or Leafi’s Nova smart house blinds, both of which are making their debuts there.
Efficiency, efficiency, and more efficiency
In reality, we’re already past the stage when manufacturers will release the first smart home version of a “dumb” gadget in 2024. Almost everything this side of a head scratcher is now available as an app.
What we’ll see more of is the Internet of Things (IoT) holistic notion being pushed in a way to produce efficiency in the house. Certain equipment, such as smart lighting and thermostats, can already automate on a timetable. In addition, the ability to construct routines across several smart devices in Apple HomeKit and Alexa has been available for some time.
However, there will be many more. You’ll be able to schedule the smart home pet door and shades stated above, for example, allowing you to construct much more complex routines.
While there has been some conjecture about AI changing these procedures into a lot more automated situation, no company has made any specific announcements. Just hints that your ecosystem should be able to adapt in real time to you in your area, such as starting a routine at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. since you arrived home an hour early.
Despite the fact that LG has already unveiled a robot based on its Zero Labor Home concept, the firm has yet to describe what this vision entails. We only know that the robot will travel around your house independently, controlling the various smart home equipment, such as turning off a smart light in an empty room.
However, we already know that AI implementation for Alexa is on the way, so you’ll be able to design whole routines using voice commands without ever having to open the Alexa app. In terms of AI, you may have observed that your preferred voice assistant already sounds more human, for better or worse.
Robotics is the way of the future
However, there is one area where it appears that we have finally arrived in the future. That is your own robot. The days of dog-like robots being stomped over by callous scientists are long gone.
Though we’re not quite at the Roy Batty level of cyborgs, personal companions like the Enabot Ebo X that patrol your home are now available. And, as indicated in that robot’s review, ChatGPT is on its way to more intuitive interaction.
Of course, two major factors will influence how broadly pet robots or robot companions are adopted. The first consideration is cost. The Enabot Ebo X, for example, costs $999 / £999 GBP / AU$1,699. The second consideration is how AI is implemented. The Enabot Ebo X user experience is a little clumsy, from setting it up to interacting with it. Interacting with it will most likely be lot more intuitive after a firmware update adds ChatGPT or some form of AI feature.
Without AI, any robot is essentially a device on wheels with only one or two capabilities, whether it’s a security camera like the Ebo X or a vacuum like the Ecovacs DEEBOT T20 Omni, which not only has its own voice assistant (it also works with Alexa) but will automatically return to its base station to clean out its mopping pads on a regular basis. Still, it’s just an autonomous vacuum at the end of the day.
Once AI is incorporated, these robot companions will begin to appear all over the place. Given how swiftly artificial intelligence has advanced, it’s not difficult to foresee 2024 being littered with several robot releases of increasing intelligence.
While we don’t know what robotics will look like in 2024, we do know that the Amazon Astro, which was first revealed three years ago, will be a part of it, since it recently launched publicly as Astro for Business. It’s only a matter of time before it makes its way to the house.
Everything revolves on price
As smart home gadgets mature, prices will fall, as they do with all technology. Newer, cutting-edge technology, such as robot companions, may not, but being able to connect to a smart home ecosystem will not add much to the overall cost of modern smart home gadgets.
For example, you can currently communicate with the Amazon Fire TV Soundbar, which costs just under $120 (about £95). Alternatively, Govee now sells a full panel of curtain lights for $129.99 / £159.99 (about AU$190). While not dirt cheap, it is reasonable for a set of string lights that can be adjusted on the fly with your voice.
Just one more product to mention. We evaluated the Cosori Pro III Dual Blaze in June and were generally impressed by its smart capabilities, such as remote control and monitoring. Furthermore, the app supports smart home connectivity with Alexa and Google Assistant (though not in the UK for some reason), so you may not only receive notifications but also add time with your voice. More crucially, it costs less than most excellent air fryers, at $149.99 / £179.99.
In essence, you won’t have to pay as much for smart home connectivity as you did previously, owing to the fact that the notion of the smart home and its accompanying devices has had some time to marinate and grow.
The year 2024 will be a watershed moment for smart houses. Not because there will be a slew of novel products, robots notwithstanding, but because we are witnessing the mainstreaming of smart home gadgets in every room of the house. Furthermore, when Matter becomes more broadly embraced, it will be easy to buy something that meets your needs without thinking about what ecosystem you have.
Artificial intelligence and a push toward efficiency will play a significant role, especially since every business wants to promise that “you’re going to save X amount” through automation and routines. Most devices will almost certainly be less expensive.
2024 will be an excellent year for the globe to embrace the smart home and make it more than simply a playground for early adopters. Tell it to my father and his single smart light bulb.