IoT Home Automation Solutions for the Smart Home

December 30, 2021
8 min
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It wouldn’t exactly be correct to say that the market for smart home systems is new. However, IoT home automation solutions today are certainly much more accessible, and to a wider audience, than a decade ago. 

Given this growing popularity, the demand for home control software and the number of players in this industry are increasing. This competition has led to the growing variety and quality of smart home systems available today. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the peculiarities of these solutions and the leading market trends

Smart home market overview

 In 2020, the volume of the smart home market hit $98.24 billion. Researchers predict that by 2028 this figure will grow to as much as $495 billion. This means that between 2021 and 2028, the CAGR will reach 23.59%. North America remains the region with the largest market share; it’s expected that by 2026, nearly 30 million households in this region will be using smart home systems.

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Analysts attribute the growing popularity of these solutions to several factors, including the increasing adoption of internet and mobile devices, users’ desire to enhance their quality of life and security, lower prices for IoT devices and solutions, and the higher disposable income of people in developing countries.

Aspirations to a more sustainable lifestyle, one that conserves natural resources without sacrificing comfort, is another motivating factor in the adoption of smart home management solutions. These systems make it significantly easier to maximize the energy- and cost-efficient use of various appliances

What constitutes a home automation system?

If you are considering launching a custom home automation solution, it’s vital to understand how these systems work and what they include.

A smart home system can be explained as a network of IoT devices (hardware powered by software solutions), electronic interfaces and communication. The devices in this network have special sensors for detecting and measuring various parameters. They are connected via WiFi, ethernet or Bluetooth and can be managed from a tablet or smartphone, even if the user is currently far away from home.

A user at work in a remote office, for example, can easily check whether the lights at home are turned off. Or turn up the heat or air conditioning to be sure the interior temperature will be comfortable when the family comes home. 

Simply put, each home automation system has three key elements: a smart device, a connected app and a hub.

The hub acts as a command center. It connects all  the smart devices and ensures their interaction.

A connected mobile app provides users with the ability to control IoT devices and monitor them remotely.

Smart devices can fulfill various tasks. Among the most popular types are:

  •  access control and security devices (cameras, motion sensors, smart locks)
  • climate control (smart energy management systems, thermostats)
  • resource managers (smart strips, switches, remote sprinkler controllers)
  • lighting control (lightbulbs, light strips, dimmers, switches)
  • home appliances (enriched with special sensors, theoretically almost any appliance can be a part of smart home management solutions)
  • entertainment (smart TV sets, film projectors, speakers, etc.)
  • healthcare and beauty (smart scales, humidifiers)

The number of elements included in the system is not particularly important. A smart home system can include just one smart device and a hub that will be managed from a mobile phone or tablet via a relevant application.

Popular features of IoT home automation solutions

Smart home management solutions can be enriched with a wide range of various functions aimed at making the lives of users safer and more comfortable. Below are some of the most popular features.

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  • Remote lighting control. This function allows people to avoid unnecessary power consumption.
  • Automated window treatment. This feature allows users to control the ambient outdoor light entering windows remotely or schedule smart shades to move automatically at set times.
  • Advanced security. This functionality not only sends alerts to authorities in case of a break-in or fire, like a traditional security system, but can also notify homeowners about visitors or unusual activities when they are away. Users can also install special cameras to see what’s happening at home at any moment. It’s recommended to make such features fully customizable, as different users may have absolutely different needs and requirements. 
  • Remote climate management. Digital home thermostats can also become a part of a connected smart home system. They not only ensure comfort at home but also help save money and energy. According to some studies, they can reduce cooling and heating costs by up to 23%.
  • Remote control. Smart home management solutions can provide full remote access to all the connected devices/gadgets, from switching on music to unlocking the door to let the dog out.

Home control software development: Why does security matter?

One of the most crucial points to pay attention to when you are building a smart home solution is its security. At the moment, IoT systems remain rather vulnerable to breaches and hacks. In the case of smart home solutions, the privacy of users is under threat. 

Security breaches are likely to happen when solution providers skip steps such as:

  • sufficient password requirements
  • sensitive data encryption
  • two-factor authentication 

Without strong security protection, hackers can easily gain access to sensitive data and later demand a payout. Sometimes people become victims of hackers not because of low protection but because of unnoticed bugs in the solution.

For example, in January 2021, it was detected that the Neighbors app owned by Amazon had a bug that exposed precise home addresses and locations of users. Luckily, the bug was said to be fixed rather quickly. 

But that wasn’t the only problem with this app. Earlier, hackers had managed to break into users’ accounts, and more than 1,500 account passwords were later found on the darknet. After that, it was decided to make two-factor authentication mandatory for all users.

In 2019, a user filed a class-action lawsuit against Ring for failure to ensure sufficient security.

ADT is another company that faced class-action lawsuits, after it was revealed that an employee had been watching security cameras for about 7 years.

Of course, this is far from a full list of such cases.

At Cogniteq, we make security a top priority in all of our IoT solutions. We devote a lot of time and effort to software testing and debugging before the release, to protect the reputation of our clients and the privacy of end-users.

Top trends in smart home solutions

Before launching your own smart home solution, we highly recommend a careful analysis of the market that helps you define the most important requirements and expectations of today’s customers, as well as the latest tech trends that will allow your system to meet industry standards.

We’ve gathered a couple of the most popular tech trends which are expected to remain at the forefront for the next couple of years.

  1. Touchless tech. Though this trend gained particular popularity amid the coronavirus pandemic for solutions built for public places, it has entered the segment of smart home solutions as well. The main reason is the convenience offered by touchless interaction with devices.We can name as some examples of this trend touchless doorbells and touchless control over various home devices, executed via mobile applications. 
  2. AI tools. Voice assistants today are well known and widely used. Such functionality can be added to your smart home management solutions, to allow users to switch on devices, turn lights on and off, and lock and unlock doors, all via voice commands.
  3. Enhanced privacy and security features. As we’ve already noted, security issues remain rather pressing for smart home systems. That’s why developers of such solutions now actively implement various tools to minimize the threat of a breach. AI-powered biometric authentication and secure routers protected from cyber attacks are good examples of the measures being implemented.
  4. Smart lighting. This functionality is among those highest in demand. The range of available options is quite wide. Different lighting variations can be scheduled, turned on by voice commands, or changed via a mobile app.
  5. Healthier environment. As many people are very attentive to their health, companies offer tech solutions to help ensure well-being at home. Smart thermostats and smart humidity controls are popular among health-conscious homeowners.

At Cogniteq, we have rich expertise in building software for home automation devices and do our best to stay attuned to all the latest tech trends and industry standards. This approach allows us to create solutions that bring value to their owners and users. If you are interested in home control software development services, we will be happy to help you! Contact us via our web page, and our seasoned experts will offer the best solution based on your requirements.