Predictions, research and optimistic statements are abounding on the new market for smart objects, That is, objects that are connected to the internet and our mobile devices. Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), it is expected to be in the next few years the only area to experience double-digit growth in the consumer goods sector. From the major technology trade shows like CES in Las Vegas and IFA in Berlin, we’ve seen some impressive numbers, such as those from GFK and Gartner: by 2020, 85% of consumer electronics and home appliances will be connected to the internet. The number of devices and appliances of the Internet of Things will total between 25 and 50 billion, including refrigerators, lamps, whisks, TVs, watches, sprinklers, air conditioners, security systems and coffee machines. This was confirmed on February 4, 2015 by the head of Samsung
at their annual European Forum in Monaco.
Who will win the challenge of the connected home?
"The company is strongly committed to the development of Internet-connected objects", said Boo-Keun Yoon, CEO of Samsung Electronics. "We have made the greatest investments on a global level, $100 million in 2015 alone, and today 75% of Samsung TVs are connected to the internet. By 2017 we will reach 100% and by 2020 this will apply to all Samsung devices. We intend to become the leader in this new market. Already last year, our consumer electronic appliances, home appliances, air conditioners and other products enabled for IoT, totaled over 665 million". It’s a technological evolution that is growing fast and will soon allow people to control the entire house, car and company, all from a smartphone.
The benefits? No waste and many savings
In just a few years the number of incidents at home as well as domestic burglaries could be significantly reduced. It will soon be possible, and at almost no charge, to receive alerts, photos, videos and to send messages to set the air conditioner, the oven and the dishwasher – all with ease, with just a few taps on your smartphone, while reducing waste at the same time. Something that is available to only a few at present.
Message for the oven, there are guests coming to dinner
The "smart" online oven already exists, even if currently it speaks "the exclusive language” of the company that manufactures it, sells it and that also provides the application that allows it to be controlled from your smartphone. So, what does it do? This device, once activated, prevents costly losses due to food being burnt by incorrectly setting the timer or the temperature, or by distractions that can make a dish or even an entire menu completely inedible. The appliance can also be used at times when electricity costs less. Via a smartphone or tablet you are able to visually check how something is cooking by "taking a look" in the oven. You can also find the best recipe based on what you currently have stocked in the fridge or what’s in season.
The internet "saves" frozen items
There are also washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators that phone for assistance in case of technical failure or that send an alarm via SMS to the homeowner. With the Internet of Things, everything is getting quicker. You can, thanks to low cost micro-sensors, connect appliances and devices to the internet and come home to find the ice cream ready and kept cool by the connected ice cream machine or a delicious pot of coffee ready when you wake up. The fridge and freezer, with their valuable contents, will also operate in case of power failure and through a shared open language, thanks to sensors and open protocols.
With home automation, bills come down
"For increased security and energy savings for families, the answer is home automation", says Federica Rossi Gasparrini, president of Federcasalinghe-Donne Europee. “Already, thanks to a simple app to control the heating, air conditioning and lighting remotely, energy bills in Europe can be reduced by 11 to 30%. We are working with public and private institutions in Europe so that these new technologies are no longer a luxury, but an affordable reality".
No more throwing away of food
The ultimate challenge is smart food management. "Only a refrigerator with energy class A+++, controlled remotely, can help us", continues Rossi Gasparrini, "together with the blast chiller to reduce what I consider the most shameful type of waste
, that of food. This would mean saving 30 to 40% of food that families literally just throw in the trash". Federcasalinghe is also working on a project at European level, on domestic technology innovation for preserving food and reducing household waste.
Without a password, the refrigerator risks being "hacked"
A completely connected house, other than being environmentally friendly and secure, can however become easy prey for hackers. A new mega-fridge, which also makes the coffee, is able to receive via the internet or smartphone instructions to make ice cubes and to keep the champagne perfectly chilled. But, as has already happened, if not password-protected, the signals coming from the various appliances, for example from the television, or the ice cream maker, may be intercepted. More and more often it happens that alarm systems are getting disabled or foiled or that the super-connected house is without power.