The mantle of technology in the home has changed severely in recent years. We’ve come a long way from the kitchen wall phone and desktop computer, in an age when smartphones, tablets and parables dominate the scene. The newest ripple comes from the internet of things (IoT), and today’s offerings are raising the bar on what makes a device “smart.”
Progressively, “smart” means safe, in terms of security and health. Joe Colistra, architect at the Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas, was recently featured in The Atlantic on his vision for a smart home that safeguards inhabitants’ well-being. Such updates include motion-sensing walls and force-detecting floors that can sense walking problems in senior citizens. Another update: “smart toilets” that analyze biochemistry and report to doctors on the user’s health.
With technology revamping home life in these ways, now seems like an ideal time for entrepreneurs to get in on the action. But, with the new terrain comes unpredicted perils, so those looking to make that leap would do well to watch where they land.
The perils that are likely to occur with “smart” homes.
CCTV cameras already monitor us, we don’t want our entire homes to turn into a spy that constantly records, and reports all our activities. Besides, these safe homes are mostly going to be beneficial for the elderly. And they are the ones who resist change, and it would be very hard for them to adapt to this new lifestyle of smart homes.
The opportunities smart urban residence present
With an explosion of population growth, tech offerings such as robots, IoT devices and energy-efficient updates will be crucial in ways the economy and infrastructure can support society.
Entrepreneurs should take note: Big problems present even bigger opportunities, and Miami in particular is blooming with exciting new tech in this sector.
Mercifully, these opportunities for smart living spaces are already on their way. The Muse Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, condos designed in collaboration with Deepak Chopra, and arranged to open this year, will feature facial recognition, robotic parking, features for optimization of our sleep cycles, window shades that adjust to the sun’s brightness and other aspects that promote overall wellness.
Riding the future wave
The tide is already coming in for these smart living developments. For entrepreneurs looking to be part of this movement, these few steps will help lead to smoother sailing:
1. Leverage the protective instinct. From parents with young children to businessmen concerned about elderly parents when the latter are travelling, people worry about their loved ones’ safety. And, with threats such as the Mirai malware which turned IoT devices into unknowing confederates in large-scale attacks, nailing down security concerns should be at the top of any entrepreneur’s list.
2. Seek innovative architects and industry experts. Integrating smart-home technology starting with the design phase is much easier than is retrofitting. Often these architects, such as the late Zaha Hadid, are known for their breakthrough designs, and their names increase trust from homeowners.
3. Consider a licensing-based business model. Housing is heavy on regulation, expects you to hold inventory and puts you up against established players who know the game better than you ever will. Instead of playing on this bumpy field, consider patenting a product and then licensing it or provoking royalties from it. This allows all the innovation and profits, with none of the nuisance of the housing market.
Google just launched a service, Google IoT Core, which allows startups to connect all IoT devices to a single cloud layer. It only collects data from these IoT devices, it doesn’t offer a way to build applications that leverage AI or trigger actions.
The time of the smart residences has almost arrived. Soon, many of us will be living this way and benefiting in terms of healthier lives. But those entrepreneurs who start now may benefit most of all. Are you up for the challenge?