Rod Slater, Head of Smart Tech & IoT at Exertis

Smart tech as a visual proposition

Rod Slater, Head of Smart Tech & IoT at Exertis, looks at the near future of the smart tech market and how products are becoming more accessible to consumers.

The smart tech revolution is here, as consumer electronic manufacturers gain a more coherent understanding of how their smart tech products are used in the real world. The integration of appliances and TVs into the smart tech world has been a long time coming. The next chapter of consumer engagement, linking the smart tech world to the white goods and entertainment markets, is finally beginning to appear.

We’ve seen the integration of smart doorbells and cameras into televisions. This allows for a “picture- in-picture” view of the doorbell camera when the doorbell is rung, to appear superimposed on top of whatever is being watched on the screen.

Further support for smart cameras allows the TV to be used as the display for smart security cameras, both inside and outside the home, affording voice access with no need to use your phone, to enable the camera feed to be displayed on a TV with both Google and Amazon Alexa.

Display smart assistants such as Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub already have this capability: as a result, adding the TV into the mix is a natural progression we can all look forward to seeing more of.

This is the first step towards integrating the TV into the consumer’s smart home, enabling the flat screen TV to become a fully inclusive part of the smart home experience along with the smart speaker.

Samsung and Toshiba have both launched smart assistant- enabled TVs that will integrate with smart tech products and these present significant opportunities for adoption by consumers. As we move towards a more integrated and less fragmented smart home, we can expect much more automation, adding to the growing list of built-in automations offered by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Timers, Scenes and Routines allow many different devices supported by Amazon Echo and Google Assistant to be controlled with a single command where the smart speaker will “play” a series of commands, for example, to setup the living room to watch a film.

In this scenario a typical routine would: Set lighting to a predefined scene, enable the Hue Play Connect to sync to the TV, and switch the TV and amplifier to the correct inputs and volume levels.

The operation of smart tech products is also becoming less complex. The last year has seen a significant shift from hub-based smart tech (which created confusion and added complexity and cost for consumers), to simpler Wi-Fi based systems that require no hub, cost a lot less and can link directly to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

This shift has also seen the growth curve accelerate as these simpler products make smart tech a simpler proposition for consumers to understand. Today over 70% of the products sold are Wi-Fi based and require no hub.

With costs coming down, technology becoming simpler and a greater level of integration with home appliances and entertainment devices, smart tech’s future looks an increasingly rosy picture. Products are becoming cheaper and more accessible: in turn they will appeal to an even larger audience of consumers.

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