As we near the middle of 2019, there’s been some big leaps and bounds in smart home technology, including a wealth of new developments at the Google I/O developer conference this week.
So sit down, ask Google Assistant to dim the lighting and pop on some ambient music, here’s a round-up of the latest smart home news…
As CES 2019 indicated, Google Assistant is now everywhere – from your smart phone to your smart home, PC, tablet and laptop.
But now she’s set to get even smarter. This year Google I/O announced they have found a way to shrink the data required for your smart assistant, which means she’s about to get a whole lot faster when it comes to processing voice requests.
Google Assistant is also to become a lot more intuitive, undertaking some tasks, like stopping timers at the command of “stop”, and without the need to activate her by saying “Hey Google” each time.
She will also offer a better connection in the smart home. Security systems, showers, microwaves, garages and more will now work more naturally with Google Assistant.
Meanwhile, a host of new features are set to make their way into the mainstream like Google Duplex, which allows you to complete mundane tasks like booking a hair appointment or planning a trip with ease.
Tech Radar explains: “Ask Google Assistant to plan a trip, and it’ll begin filling in website forms such as reservation details, hire car bookings and more, on your behalf. It just awaits you to confirm the details it’s inputted”.
CNET notes Google Assistant is also about to get more personalised.
“Your Google Assistant-powered smart display will be able to show better recommendations when you ask it for a recipe or if you search for podcasts or local events. It bases results on your search history,” they note.
The upgrade is due to roll out over the coming months.
The Google Assistant app is soon to feature a new tab called “You” which organises your activity history and privacy settings.
The app will allow you to see contacts in the tab and add details and relationships.
“Then, ask Google Assistant for the weather near your sister’s place and it can respond,” CNET explains.
And speaking of privacy, CNET further notes: “Google says it wants you to be aware of what data your device captures and what it does with that data, and rolled out new privacy policies for the smart home”.
As predicted, Google has revealed a new and larger smart speaker complete with 10-inch screen and camera. And now it will be called the Nest Home Max.
Nest Home Max features voice and facial recognition, ensuring recommendations are tailored to the specific user. It can access YouTube videos and allows users to make calls. It also comes with a nifty feature that allows you to turn its volume down simply by raising your hand in front of the display.
Nest Hub Max is tipped to launch in July.
Moving away from Google I/O and out into the larger wide world of smart speakers, Australian research firm Telsyte has released findings indicating just how prevalent they are becoming in our lives.
As of December 2018, they estimate 1.6 million, or 16 per cent, of Australian households were using smart speakers (such as Google Home, Amazon echo and Apple HomePod), up from 538,000 (or 6 per cent of households) in 2017).
“In Australia, Google is leading the smart speaker market with 72 per cent share of main smart speaker in use in Australian households. Promotions over the holiday period underpinned the strong uptake which Telsyte predicts will continue into 2019,” they said.
The next generation of wireless internet, 5G, is now rolling out across Australia with Optus and Telstra the two major networks embracing the technology this year.
Telstra notes they’ve started rolling out 5G network in partnership with Ericsson which will enable 200 base stations before the year ends.
“Rollouts in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth CBDs are already well underway, with Sydney (including Parramatta) and Melbourne CBDs not too far behind,” they explain.
“We’ve also already launched 5G in most of the Gold Coast metro area, as well as having much of Hobart, Launceston and Toowoomba covered.”
5G will offer a series of major advantages over its predecessor including less latency, more connected devices, and faster speeds, all of which will have large implications for the Internet of Things. It is also likely to fuel the development of things like driverless cars, and automated machinery.
In Australia a couple of studies are under way looking at how smart home technology will impact our lives. One is currently taking place in Sydney and sees four households transformed into smart connected homes and used as ‘natural labs’.
In 2015, RMIT also commenced a three-year study that looked to take a deep dive into the impacts of home automation.
The RMIT project is investigating how automated technologies are being incorporated into household practices, and the expectations they promote, sustain and transform.
In our own smart home news, Lera Smart Solutions has released two handy calculators to help customers identify the types of smart home features they want and the costs involved.
Simple to use and offering an immediate quote, the calculators walk users through the key features of smart home living and offer an insight into how much it costs to transform your home.
Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.
We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.