Our smart homes of 2022

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DOORS that au­to­mat­i­cally lock when you leave home, garage doors that rise when you re­turn, TVs that turn black when you fall asleep, and cup­board sen­sors that help you de­ter­mine who has been steal­ing the cho­co­late bis­cuits.

This mix of quirky and con­ve­nient smart home tech­nol­ogy is com­ing to Aus­tralia next year as tech com­pa­nies race to lead what is fore­cast to be­come a $276 bil­lion mar­ket by 2022.

And “dumb” homes are ex­pected to get a ma­jor boost as Sam­sung fi­nally rolls out its smart home prod­ucts in Aus­tralia, con­nect­ing ev­ery­thing from lights and se­cu­rity cam­eras to wash­ing ma­chines and vac­uum clean­ers to the in­ter­net so users can em­ploy from afar.

An­a­lysts pre­dict Sam­sung’s launch will change the way we clean the house, do the wash­ing, or­der gro­ceries, and even the way we play with pets.

But they also warn smart ap­pli­ance buy­ers not to be­come com­pla­cent about the se­cu­rity of these al­wayscon­nected de­vices to stop them be­com­ing an un­wanted win­dow into other­wise pri­vate lives.

Sam­sung fi­nally launched the first of its SmartThings de­vices for homes this week in part­ner­ship with Vic­to­rian in­sur­ance firm, RACV.

The com­pa­nies will sell early adopters a $378 Smart Home Starter Kit loaded with sen­sors they can place onon doo doors and d win­dows for se­cu­rity, and de­vices to de­tect tem­per­a­tures and move­ment to mon­i­tor homes us­ing a con­nected smart­phone.

Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Aus­tralia cat­e­gory man­age­ment head Eric Chou said the kit also in­cluded pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion – an ad­di­tion de­signed to help users get the most out of the tech­nol­ogy and ad­dress com­plaints that smart home gad­gets were too dif­fi­cult to use.

When in­stalled cor­rectly, Mr Chau said, the SmartThings gad­gets could “au­to­mate” com­mon sce­nar­ios, mak­ing life eas­ier for users.

“When you leave the home in the morn­ing, for ex­am­ple, it could dim the lights, turn on your se­cu­rity sen­sors, lock the doors, and turn on your ro­bot vac­uum cleaner,” he said.

“It’s not just about man­u­ally turn­ing on all of your de­vices at home but trig­ger­ing that based on a sce­nario.”

The tech­nol­ogy could also turn lights off in other rooms when you go to bed, he said, or cool your house as you travel home from work, set the scene for movie night, or warn you when the iron had been left on or your clothes were washed and wait­ing.

Mr Chau said Sam­sung’s SmartThings de­vices would be launched in Aus­tralia over the next six months, with a key fo­cus on home se­cu­rity and con­nected light­ing.

The sys­tem cur­rently worked with 25 brands of smart prod­ucts in Aus­tralia, he said, but would grow to sup­port more mod­els over time.

But Sam­sung is far from the only tech firm try­ing con­vince Aus­tralians to con­nect more ev­ery­day items to the in­ter­net.

Smart home spe­cial­ists Nest has re­leased out­door and in­door cam­eras, and even smart smoke alarms in Aus­tralia, and Ama­zon-owned Ring, which makes videostream­ing door­bells and spot­lights, is mak­ing an im­pact on Aus­tralian home se­cu­rity.

Philips has just re­leased a range of smart out­door lights in time for Christ­mas, Nano- leaf of­fers artsy, light­ing tiles that could be con­trolled by Siri or Google As­sis­tant, and Tel­stra now sells do-it-your­self smart home kits.

Tel­syte prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst Foad Fadaghi said smart home tech­nol­ogy would sky­rocket in Aus­tralia over the next three years, pre­dict­ing each house­hold would own more than 36 in­ter­net-con­nected de­vices by 2022.

Sam­sung’s launch in the mar­ket would de­liver a ma­jor boost to the trend, he said, but it was im­por­tant that ev­ery­day ap­pli­ances were smart by de­fault and it wasn’t left to con­sumers to in­stall fid­dly gad­gets.

“Bring­ing sen­sors into the mar­ket is re­ally only a part of the puz­zle,” he said.

“More crit­i­cal will be hav­ing con­nected ap­pli­ances for sim­i­lar prices. When you de­cide to re­place your fridge and the cost of a smart fridge is only marginally more ex­pen­sive that will lead to mass adop­tion (of smart home prod­ucts).”

Mr Fadaghi said smart prod­ucts also needed to make bet­ter use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­telli- gence and ma­chine learn­ing tech­nol­ogy to be truly con­ve­nient. “They need savvy soft­ware to cre­ate smart out­comes, not just con­nect prod­ucts to­gether,” he said.

“Smart prod­ucts need to proac­tively rec­om­mend that a win­dow be closed be­cause the tem­per­a­ture has changed, for ex­am­ple, or that a prod­uct needs to be re­ordered from the gro­cery store.”

In­ter­na­tional Data Cor­po­ra­tion (IDC) pre­dicted smart home tech­nol­ogy would boom over the next four years, with 939 mil­lion de­vices shipped in 2022 in a mar­ket that will be worth more than $276 bil­lion.

IDC con­sumer in­ter­net-ofthings pro­gram se­nior re­search an­a­lyst Adam Wright said smart speak­ers and smart­phone voice as­sis­tants would pave the way for homes to be­come smarter, as users be­came more ac­cus­tomed to ask­ing for ma­chines to do their bid­ding.

“While it’s still early days for the smart home mar­ket – and the wider con­sumer IoT ecosys­tem in gen­eral – we ex- pect to see con­sid­er­able growth over the next few years, es­pe­cially as con­sumers be­come more aware and in­creas­ingly in­ter­act with smart as­sis­tant plat­forms like Ama­zon’s Alexa and Google As­sis­tant,” he said.

Mr Fadaghi warned that Aus­tralians were still “con­cerned” about the pri­vacy im­pli­ca­tions of these lis­ten­ing de­vices, how­ever, and about who could ac­cess their smart home net­works.

Is­sues in­her­ent in the tech­nol­ogy were high­lighted this week when a hacker ad­mit­ted tak­ing control over more than 50,000 con­nected print­ers and guid­ing them to­wards a YouTube ac­count.

“Spread the word about printer and printer se­cu­rity – this is ac­tu­ally a scary mat­ter,” the Twit­ter user call­ing him­self TheHack­erGi­raffe ex­plained.

Unisys Aus­tralia Pa­cific se­cu­rity ser­vices di­rec­tor Ash­win Pal said users should turn on au­to­matic se­cu­rity soft­ware up­dates to avoid sim­i­lar hack­ing at­tempts.

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