How AI and Machine Learning are improving and changing smart homes?
Chances are that you have heard of the “AI is the new electricity” expression. This catchphrase is not far from truth as AI is fast becoming a fundamental and underpinning technology for our society. AI with its algorithms and machine learning, now empowers all aspects of our modern living be it our personal errands such as shopping or journey planning, or online social interaction with others such as Facebook, Twitter or even dating website. In this sense, AI is revolutionising how we use machines today, much like the revolution that electricity brought to machines at the beginning of last century.
In line with this socio-techno revolutions, our homes are no longer places that passively provide us with mere comfort and shelter. AI is fast transforming them into ‘intelligent’ homes (note that intelligent homes are smart or automated homes with embedded intelligence, for a more in-depth discussion that actively seek to maximise our comfort by learning how we use our homes and spend our time when home.
These intelligent homes are always learning in the background to adapt to our needs while saving us energy (and the planet!) without having the users to explicitly tell them what to do. For example, an intelligent home can control your heating so that it is only on when you are home and in parts of the homes that you are likely to use. Similarly, an intelligent home can keep track of environmental changes (e.g. humidity) to mitigate their impact on our health; for example high humidity can trigger asthma attacks. Besides monitoring the environment, intelligent homes also learn your daily life patterns (when do you get up, have shower or breakfast and leave for work etc.) and flag deviations in real-time which is immensely useful in general and particularly for elderly care. For example, an unexpected inactivity period can indicate accidents or need for urgent attention. Similarly, a slow gradual deviation can be an early indicator of deterioration of mental or physical health such as dementia.
In more details, in the following we discuss few specific benefits that AI brings to intelligent homes.
ENERGY USE AND EFFICIENCY
Intelligent homes can learn to optimise use of energy required to meet our needs. This optimal use of energy not only cut down your energy bills but also makes a positive contribution to mitigating the pressing challenge of climate change. The reduction in energy can come from something as simple as turning the lights off in a vacant room, or more complex techniques such as learning thermodynamics of a home (i.e., how a home heats up and cools down) and household occupancy patterns (i.e., when are users home) in order to use heating only when and where in the house it is needed. All such techniques (be it simple or complex) need data to so that machine learning algorithms can learn and understand about the environment in a home and how users use their homes. This requirements is met by instrumentation that is by installing a number of sensors in homes that monitor and report data and send to machine learning algorithms running in the ‘clouds’. This instrumentation can be done either via buying different sensors and installing them in your house or buying a more comprehensive single device that captures all this data. In the first case, a user might end up buying incompatible or disjointed sensors that do not talk to each other and therefore may not unlock the true value of data. The second case, and this is what Wondrwall product excels at, is to provide users with a single device that captures all the data required for machine learning algorithm. For example, our intelligent light switch [LINK HERE] has 13 different sensors on it that continuously collect and send this data to our AI platform in the cloud where machine learning algorithms continuously learn so your home can be controlled to maximise comfort while minimising energy. We are also very concerned with users’ privacy and therefore our platform is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that your data cannot be access and read by any unauthorised person.
SECURITY AND COMFORT
Intelligent homes are more secure as they are more tools and techniques at hand to ensure the safety of your house and households. For example, an intelligent home knows when all users have left the house. In such cases, they continuously monitor activities in and around the home detect any potential intruders. We hear you ask that a normal home can do so with a security alarm and siren. Intelligent homes can do the same but they offer a much greater level of security. This can be achieved in different ways but at Wondrwall we have designed our light switches that, when no one is at home, continuously detect for activities such as sounds and motions. Our light switches are equipped with advanced algorithms that can distinguish the sound of glass shattering in real time. When this is detected, the light switch can turn on the siren and all light switch starts sounding alarm and flashing lights to scare the intruder away. This is in contrast to regular security system that typically catch an intruder once they are inside.
Also, our light switches have motion sensors which give you a complete log of where exactly the intruder went around in the house.
Beside security, our light switches also offer voice-activated commands through Amazon Alexa. This means users have the full functionality of interacting with Amazon Alexa. While the scientist of the world might have failed to provide us the promised flying cars, Wondrwall scientists have indeed provided you with the comfort of ordering a taxi or a pizza, scheduling meetings or playing your favourite songs; all by merely talking to our light switch!
In summary, AI’s mission of transforming the way we live and interact with our environment is rapidly changing all modern aspects of our lives and our homes are no exception. Intelligent homes are a manifestation of this change that is no longer in future but a reality right now. Wondrwall’s mission is to unlock this potential with innovative products and services to make our homes even more comfortable and tailored for our modern needs.