The Big Voice Trend Ahead in Smart Home Tech

Filed in Design, Home Building, Multifamily, Remodelers by on March 6, 2018 2 Comments
Josh voice activation

The Josh voice activation system turns off lights, draws the curtains, plays music and was honored as the best new product of 2017 at the CEDIA awards.

What are the big developments in smart home technology? And what’s on the horizon in the next year or two?

Gordon van Zuiden, founder of the San Francisco home technology company cyberManor, has the answer to both questions: Voice control.

The range of devices that can be controlled by voice is limitless. Stoves and fridges have joined smart thermostats and lighting in the category of appliances that can be adjusted by speaking. Simply put: If it’s got power, there’s the potential for voice control.

“What’s happening right now is that voice control is evolving the same way that the personal computer or the internet did when they were first introduced: Things begin as complex systems, become simplified, and then so ubiquitous we don’t even think about their presence much,” said van Zuden.

“We’re in the transition phase from complex to simple when it comes to voice control. It’s a march towards the ‘frictionless home’. A march toward the ultimate goal of: ‘I think something. I want something. It should do something,’” he said.

For van Zuiden, that frictionless home will allow immediate recognition of a user’s wants: Can one family member say “Hey, Mom?” while that person’s in their bedroom — and have Mom appear on a video screen from the kitchen, for example?

That day’s coming soon, and it will require thoughtful design.

Whether remodeling a home or building a new one, early consultation with an integrator is important. Voice control devices are yet another stressor on residential Wi-Fi, and having an integrator prewire a home will provide much more reliable performance and help solve the issues of interoperability:  With more and more disparate — and complex — devices being pitched to the consumer, the chances that those things won’t “talk” to one another rises exponentially.

A good home technology integrator can ensure that the end result isn’t a pile of frustrating gadgets, but rather a terrific smart home experience. Consultation at the outset can hold down costs and — more importantly — reduce client frustration.

Eventually — and that moment isn’t far off at all — voice control will begin to recognize individuals in the home, and then interact with individuals in a more personal manner. That platform, whatever its name might be, will know who it’s talking to, and know that user’s preferences, from music to movies to lighting and shopping lists. Voice control — when coupled with other sensors — will ultimately become a virtual assistant.

The elegant summation from van Zuiden: “It’s home as personal concierge.”

This NAHBNow guest post was written by Ed Wenck, Content Marketing Manager for CEDIA, the industry association representing those professionals who manufacture, design and integrate goods and services for the connected home.



Comments (2)

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  1. Jerry Mulder says:

    One concern that I worry about is safety. Keeping folks locked out of the system is hopefully on the front burner of this brainchild.
    I’m excited though to be on the front steps of the technology that our children’s children will be so
    lucky to live with every day. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a curse!
    Jerry Mulder
    Master Plumber/Co-owner
    Mr Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio

  2. Ed Wenck says:

    Hi, Jerry — Ed from CEDIA here. We will be addressing those concerns in future posts. And yes, it’s absolutely a top priority along with ease of use. Tied for first, I’d say.

    Ed Wenck
    CEDIA Content Marketing Manager

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