Simplifying Smart Homes
UI and UX

Simplifying Smart Homes

Tomorrow’s homes deserve an improved HMI and TG0 Technology can help.

Interest in - and adoption of - smart home technology is skyrocketing. Homeowners and even renters are looking for easy-to-control, connected, intelligent devices that help them create the perfect environment in which to live. Construction giants are incorporating sustainable and cost-saving devices like smart thermostats, smart meters and solar panels into every new-build home. Appliance manufacturers are adding IoT capabilities to current and new lines. We’re all heading towards a more personalised, tailored and environmentally-friendly ambience as soon as we walk in the door.

And while most of us don’t yet have a fridge that can self-analyse its contents and auto-order replacement shopping, we’re on the verge of some amazing improvements to the way we enjoy and organise our domestic lives. 

Here are a few recent smart home trends:

Seamless integration

Smart home brands are collaborating as well as competing. Recently, they’ve teamed up on Matter, a new form of smart home and IoT communication protocol. Matter increases smart home compatibility, giving devices from diverse manufacturers a common language in which to ‘speak’ to one another. This allows home-makers to use the smart home control platform of their choice – Alexa, Google Home or Siri – to control multiple devices built by multiple – and in some times, competing - brands. Thread, another common communication protocol, also allows diverse devices to communicate wirelessly without WiFi, Bluetooth or Zigbee, and potentially over a longer range. With Matter and Thread, homeowners can reduce the number of hubs in their home, allowing them to declutter while enjoying the widest possible choice of pre-integrated capabilities.

Increasing ecosystems

Today’s smart homes now contain everything from smart lighting and heating to sophisticated AI-based video cameras for security and baby monitoring, smart screens and speakers, smart domestic appliances, smart plugs, smart locks and even smart motorised curtains (not to mention smart pet feeders). The ‘zero-labor home’ has become a conversation, as have robotics. As domestic ecosystems grow in device numbers and capabilities, homeowners will look for newer, more intuitive ways to control and automate the multitude of devices on their premises. 

Energy efficiency

Smart thermostats are being sold on a variety of benefits, including increased comfort with different temperatures for different rooms. But their primary value prop remains energy efficiency: good for the planet and good for the wallet. Smart brands know today’s customers are looking to contribute to carbon reduction with every purchase. That is driving conversations regarding the recyclability and repairability of all electronics consumer goods, including smart ones. Material choices are another key focus point for device-makers. 

Space constraints

Shrinking home sizes driven by growing populations are causing designers to think of new ways to maximise space and minimise clutter. Accessibility awareness is increasing, as is the need to future-proof homes so they are suitable for home-based workers and fast-ageing populations. People are working, exercising and even socialising (virtually) in the same space. They are spending more time in smaller homes. Consequently, ergonomics and accessibility need to evolve.

Smarter interaction

Privacy remains a hot topic, and not every homeowner wants to be surrounded by cameras or sharing voice commands via an Amazon, Apple or Google ecosystem. Smart home interaction methods are evolving, with significant effort being put into sharper LCD displays. There’s also an appetite for new types of sensor or control, for example in smart baby monitoring. Overall, the market wants less-intrusive technology and more versatile design.

At TG0 we see smart homes as a huge opportunity for consumers and our business. Consumers will benefit from greater convenience and comfort, and, as consumption grows, costs for smart devices should come down too. For TG0, smart homes offer several growth markets, and more importantly, the ability to influence design, interactions and ergonomics for a large amount of people. 

Our touch-based smart surfaces have been proven to improve HMI and data collection in everything from home-based controls to indoor sports and health equipment and window control. They provide a novel, more tactile way to interact, which gives total freedom to design a brand experience with the intimacy of touch. What’s more, these surfaces can be created with fewer electrical components and in a choice of materials, enabling product designers to create more ecologically friendly devices. 

They offer a more sensual, screen-free and more sustainable way to interact in a smart home, possibly just by stroking a wall or the arm of a sofa. Imagine a Siri you could not only talk to, but touch. Now there’s an interesting thought.