September 08, 2017

Smart Home: Bringing It Together with Bots

By Special Guest
David Moss, CTO, People Power

Even with 80 million smart home devices delivered worldwide in 2016, according to IHSMarkit, consumers have not made the transition fromturning their regular homes into smart homes with Internet of Things solutions like intelligent thermostats, security systems, and home care offerings.

As consumers begin to piece together fragmented parts of a smart home, it’s crucial for IoT developers to consider how these individuals are interacting with these devices and how the devices interact with one another. Getting this right will enable the IoTmarket to live up to its massive potential by making the smart home so much smarter.

This is driving toward the inevitable – a conscious, intelligent home thatprovides outcomes that unfold naturally andupon which consumers become highly dependent.

To create a conscious home, IoT providers and developers must leverage the data from smart home devices in a waythatradically optimizes services. One way to do that is to implement bots – little digital helpers that operate in the background of a consumers’ life. Bots are able to detect patterns in a person’s lifestyle; anticipate problems; predict what a person will do next;and,most importantly, provide developers with the opportunityto design services that aren’t remotely possible with apps as we know them today. While this concept of smart home bots may sound futuristic, developers are already making it a reality.

The Shiftfrom Apps to Bots
In 2008, Apple and Google both launched their mobile app stores, fundamentally changing the way we think about computing. Fast forward nine years later, apps are the basis of how we use our smartphones. However,now, most developers would agree that app development hasstalled. Meanwhile,momentum is shifting toward bots.

Bots areexploding even faster than apps did.There are threetimes more bot developers and solutions than there were app developers in the first year of the app boom, according to Citi Research. In the first six months of Facebook’s Messenger bot platform, there were 36,000 developers working on bots, triple the number who created early apps.

What’s helping spur that growth? It’s the fact that bot development is quicker than making an app. And, unlike apps, bots aredesigned primarily to deliver recurring revenue streams.People pay a one-time fee to download apps,; whereas,bots function as a service, so developers can command monthly service fees. Developers are constantly putting out updates for both apps and bots, but only one continues to pay them for their work.

Bots Have Smarts
There are messaging bots, like those Facebook and Twitter use to send automated messages, and editing bots, like those Wikipedia uses to undo vandalism and flag copyright violations. But there are other types of bots that have an even greater and relatively untappedpotential.

Smart home bots are tiny computer programs that combine deep learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to listen to the real-time data from smart home devices. From that data, bots can figure out how to simplify a user’s life. The industry is beginning to refer to the act of listening to and acting upon real-time data as ambient computing.

Bots are intelligent in a way that apps are not. Because bots are able to learn, react, and communicate with you, they’re able to do more than a smart home device connected to an app on a smartphone ever could. As this technology becomes more pervasive, expect to see a reduced dependence on connected device screens, with a significant trend toward using voice prompts to facilitate user commands.

Today, IoT devices are still largely driven by screen interaction. That’s not where the market is headed, however, as seen by the popularity of Siri, Google Home, and Alexa voice services.

Bots Add Value
For true innovation to occur in the IoT market, ambient computing must be applied to smart devices through bots. Applying bot technology to the IoT creates the opportunity to expand the purpose and value of smart devices.

Bots turn ordinary things, like lightbulbs or the lock on your front doorinto intelligent devices. Bots areproactive,learnpatterns, and influence outcomes for a more focused resultby automatically adjusting connected devices in the home to maximizeservice value. Bots pay attention to your behavior and patterns, thus constantly learning to understand what to do with those actions.Combined with sensors, bots provide the opportunity to manage customer experience in a variety of ways. If hardware performance is less than optimal, bots can automatically detect the issue and alert the user with a push notification that shares a message on how to adjust the sensor for improved performance.

The connected world is transforming, anddevelopers are actively looking for the next big opportunity beyond mobile apps.We’re headed toward a world with services that have not yet been imagined, thanks to bots. We are entering a world of technology driven by the human voice, a world where developers make ongoing revenues, and a world where services are upgradable instantaneously across the entire user base.

Bots are the wave of the future.

David Moss, CTO at People Power.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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