The IoT has provided app developers with an abundance of opportunities to reframe how we use our mobile devices on a daily basis.
The ability to design apps that can effortlessly integrate with hardware in our homes and offices, organically provides device users with greater control over these environments.
That being said, the IoT is by no means a new concept, with the past two decades seeing some major innovations in this branch of consumer technology. So what key considerations are vital to the success of these IoT app development projects in a modern day context?
Below we’ll be outlining six of the latest trends and developments in the world of app-controlled IoT devices. Read on to unearth just what specifications you should be looking for from your next smart home technology purchase.
1. Smart Home Tech Integration
Originally, integration was used to refer to a device’s ability to connect wirelessly to and share information with a personal device like a computer or mobile device.
Nowadays, however, IoT capabilities are almost expected to be a foundational feature in all modern home and office technologies, from printers to air conditioners.
The next logical step with regards to the development of integration capabilities, would be to produce smart home tech that’s capable of not only communicating with personal devices but other IoT products as well.
A good example of this is a smart fridge with a door-in-door feature that’s fitted with a built-in sensor.
This sensor can be used to detect when your household is low on milk, and then actually order milk or other groceries by communicating with an integrated smart home assistant like Amazon Alexa or even any Google Home speakers positioned in your kitchen.
2. Scheduling Capabilities
Speaking of placing smart home speakers in your kitchen, the establishment of ‘rooms’ in your smart home hub apps has opened up a whole new feature that has proven itself to be highly popular after just a few short years: the ability to design schedules or routines.
Setting schedules with your smart home technology can involve any number of sequences carried out by your home’s connected tech.
A good example is a ‘morning routine’ that’s triggered by the clock striking six in the morning. Your alarm clock may be the first device to respond, signalling a wake up call.
This wake up call may then also prompt your coffee pot to start brewing or for your kettle to switch on, allowing you to get a head start on your morning without having to perform these tasks manually.
Routines can also help households conserve energy (and money), as this feature can be used to programme climate control technologies, like air conditioners or heaters, to switch on or off at particular times.
This means that you can feel free falling asleep with the air conditioner on knowing that it won’t just stay on all night.
3. Advanced Voice Recognition
As smart home technologies have evolved, developers and product designers have been paying more attention to the value of family-friendly features, like parental control to help households maintain digital wellness, as well as the capacity for smart home devices to recognise multiple voice profiles.
Advanced voice recognition allows IoT devices to offer commands that are tailored to different device users.
A good example here is a smart home speaker that is able to play specific playlists based on the user that has provided that prompt.
Advanced voice recognition capabilities have also provided households with the ability to create different schedules or routines that can then be assigned to different user profiles.
This allows all members of a household to initiate their own morning routines without having to assign these routines different names to avoid confusion between family members.
4. Environmental Monitoring
Some of the most popular IoT devices on the market today are actually environmental monitoring technologies like air quality sensors, energy monitors, and smart heaters, fans, and air conditioners.
Unlike smart tablets and speakers, these environmental monitoring IoT tools tend to possess modest displays or even no displays at all, opting instead for boosted functionality with your connected personal devices.
What does this mean exactly? These nondescript-looking devices can actually be used to gain highly valuable insights into how your household consumes resources on an ongoing basis, allowing you and your family to streamline your living habits to achieve peak eco-friendliness in the home.
Alongside being highly beneficial for reducing the carbon footprint of your home, these environmental monitors have also proven to be highly useful for those battling allergies or even asthma.
Tech like smart air monitors and purifiers can allow families living with allergies to take total control over their home’s air quality, facilitating easy breathing year-round.
5. Programmable Notifications
One killer benefit of smart home technology, like home security systems or indoor/outdoor cameras, is its ability to help device users monitor their homes remotely, providing added peace of mind that you won’t be at risk of falling victim to a home break-in.
You can switch on notifications for your security system’s connected apps to be notified whenever any movement is detected near your home.
But what if the movement being detected is something inconsequential, like a nearby pedestrian or a car speeding down your street?
This is where programmable notifications come into play. Instead of being notified for all movements or stimuli, you can program some smart home tech to only notify you in the event of select stimuli.
For instance, if you have a smart doorbell, you may receive notifications of the bell being rung as well as notifications for whenever family members leave or enter the home.
Similarly, smart home security systems can be programmed to notify you of movements within a certain specified range rather than all movements that are picked up in your camera’s total range.
Programmable notifications also extend to interactivity with push notifications. You can prompt your smart home tech to send notifications at specific times to ask users if a routine should be initiated over programming automatic initiation for routines.
Interactive push notifications may also simplify the process of managing parental control features or approve any automated orders (like grocery orders!) or payments made by your smart tech through voice commands.
6. Improved Privacy
Of course, privacy and data collection have been evergreen concerns throughout the development of smart home technologies, and this is fair enough.
There have been some security concerns with smart home technologies in the past, including smart home speakers picking up on private conversations or even data breaches or security hacks causing sensitive household information like routines or occupant comings and goings to be made public information to third parties who know where to look.
So how do modern smart home technologies ensure greater privacy and security for device users in the present day?
The first line of defence tends to be ensuring that the WiFi connection boasted by emerging smart home technologies is as secure as possible, so that wireless connections and relayed environmental or other household data won’t be accessible by third parties.
Alongside this, many smart home manufacturers and app developers have utilized security measures like multifactor authentication and automatic firmware updates to ensure that your hardware always possesses the most up-to-date version of the technology.
Increased transparency surrounding the technological components (like sensors, cameras, and microphones) included in IoT devices, also provides modern-day consumers with added peace of mind that their smart home tech won’t actually double up as spyware.
As you can see, smart home technologies boast a wide array of modern features and functionalities that device users can feel free to use in their own ways.
How you use the affordances that these devices can allow, naturally depends on the needs of your household, and how fleshed out your smart home ecosystem is.
Establishing rooms and routines will naturally allow you to get a lot more out of your smart home tech than would be possible by using all the devices in isolation.
Simply put, if you’re willing to put in the work required for set-up, modern device users can get a whole lot more than just these six tech trends out of their smart home devices.