I had an interesting discussion with a person interested in at-home assisted living for the elderly. With our ageing population, that’s an area where IoT can make a big social and economic impact.
While that discussion was specific to using technology to assist the elderly to live independently at home, it also applies more broadly to smart homes. Three insights emerged:
1. Smart Homes Not Smart Things
Other than the very early adopters, people don’t want to be product and data integrators. They don’t want point solutions. They don’t want to configure smart door locks, smart thermostats, smart lights, and smart whatever. They don’t want more apps and more technology.
They want a smart home that invisibly works, making their lives more convenient. For example, the home should know when they leave and just do everything required- from locking the front door to turning on security alarms to switching off lights.
2. Why LoRaWAN Makes Sense For Connectivity
People have wifi and Internet connections at home. It’s free in that it’s already paid for. Why would LoRaWAN be a better option? The answer is related to the above. People don’t want to fiddle with technology. Service providers too don’t want to worry about wifi passwords, reliability, and availability. Essentially, for a very low additional cost that is a tiny fraction of the overall service price, there is an independent, provider-controlled connectivity path to each home.
3. Intimate Data
By definition, a smart home has vast amounts of intimate data about people. It knows when you’re not there, if a woman is pregnant, and how you spend your time. There’s a hub that controls everything. Security and privacy are must-haves. More importantly, trust is critical. For an early look at smart home security, S2E1 of Mr Robot is spot on.
All of this has implications for people thinking about where smart homes are going. We are still at the early stages where basic things like interoperability haven’t been solved so there’s a long way to go. But, it’s good to have a direction.