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Technology Is Changing Our Homes, The Way We Live

Technology has been a significant influence in the way we live. It has changed our lives since man has embraced advances in science to improve our lives. In the 50th anniversary of the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas this month, the words artificial intelligence (NYSE:AI) filled the trade shows. And of course, smart homes.

Very evident amongst the new technologies presented is how many products and brands have integrated Alexa, the Amazon-developed AI voice assistant using the company's wireless voice command device, Echo. Amazon claims that Alexa now boasts of more than 7,000 "skills," a huge jump from 1,000 integrations in June 2016.

Some of the products that have integrated Alexa into their systems include:

  • iRobot Roomba 880
  • iDevices' stick-on light switch for HomeKing
  • Whirlpool refrigerators, washers, dryers, and ovens that can be controlled using Alexa
  • Dish's Hopper DVR
  • Array products
  • ADT's Pulse security system
  • Conway's air purifiers
  • Linksys' Velop router system allows Alexa to read Wi-Fi password and other commands
  • Incipio's HomeKit products

Users of these products can control those gadgets using voice commands installed to an Echo, Echo Dot or other Alexa-enabled devices.

Smart Homes Becoming Smarter

It is amazing how the advancement in smart homes developed in just less than a decade. With the introduction of new tools and systems, we can now honestly say that smart homes are smart, because the average person, like you and me, can actually use and understand the tools.

It also helps that consumer product manufacturers, software and hardware developers are working together to bring us closer to our smart home dream. Google, Amazon, August Locks and Samsun SmarThings are collaborating on finding ways to integrate their products. These companies have introduced products, including CO alarms, smoke detectors, thermostats, light switches, locks, etc., that are compatible with smart home software by Apple Homekit, Google Home, and Wink.

But it doesn't stop there. These companies said that the synergy created between those devices are just a taste of what the future holds and they intend on working closely together to introduce other challenges, like security. While big companies, like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc., don't have an issue with security, they want to make sure that their smaller counterparts are on the same page in their development, especially those who do not have the software expertise.

Sorry, No Irona Yet…

In the animation hit series, Richie Rich, Richie's humanoid robot maid Irona, is a dream for any homemakers. Irona, the wise-crackling beautiful maid, will buy your magazine, do the laundry, clean up the house, wash your car and even stop the bad guys when the need arises.

However, we are still far from having our own Irona, but that does not mean the tech world is not trying to make one.

In this year's CES, LG has introduced its adorable Hub bot, Kuri, while Baidu, China's counterpart of Google, unveiled the "Little Fish." It was also learned that LG is planning to introduce a larger commercial version of Kuri at the Incheon International Airport in South Korea in the later part of 2017. Although these robots may come with hefty price tags, they can be a very helpful home assistant and can be voice-activated through Echo, Google Home.

New Building Designs

From the inside to the outside.

The year 2017 will also see planners and contractors introduce new building and home designs using new tools and available technology to modernize as well as maximize their business potentials. Home construction is only a small part of the larger construction industry. However, most often, the failure of a contractor to fulfill its contractual obligation can be traced on how its back office is run instead of what is going on the job site. To address this problem, the construction sector has now adopted cloud-based solutions to simplify the business process, from purchasing materials, invoicing, billing, subcontractors, to client meeting.

Solutions providers like Hyphen Solutions has introduced an automated schedules and system for invoices, while BuilderTrend is offering online portals that allow customers to talk to contractors and monitor the progress of the projects through real-time schedules and up-to-date photos. Smartphones are also playing an integral role in this development as they allow real-time interaction between clients and builders as well as real-time videos and pictures of the project.

Clean, Simple Designs Are The New "IT"

Millennials are expected to have a huge influence in future designs of homes. Gone are the elegant mansions with big lawns and ornaments. But everything will be minimalist and functional. This decade will also see the end of the McMansion era and the age of traditional clean but modern design begins. And this is not unexpected because an architectural style usually lasts between 15 and 25 years.

Future home designs are seen to be cleaners with mono colors. It will be now more common to see white kitchens instead of the usual dark stains and country kitchen designs. The millennials' kitchen will feature shaker cabinets or European inspired designs. We will see goodbye to anything extravagant, like large rooms and double-height entries. Instead, the new home designs will have lower ceilings, with a nine or 10-foot clearance on the average. Functional storage is indispensable.

On the interior, the younger generations are expected to combine modern with old-school furniture to add a personal touch on their homes. There should be a significant shift in the taste in lighting and wallpaper designs as well.

Surety Bonds to Protect Your Investment

With the change in the culture of how we live and how we build our new homes, surety bonds is an integral part to protect your interest. From deciding which contractor will build your home, construction and even purchase of your furniture, surety bonds will play a critical role in protecting you against consumer fraud and unethical business process. You have to understand and learn the benefits of surety bonds and how it can provide you guarantee that you will get what your money's worth.