In the Iron Man films, Tony Stark could talk to his virtual assistant and all his robots and control everything in his smart home.
It may be a while before this scenario becomes a reality, but the seeds of such innovations are already taking root.
For instance, could you tell your home to turn on the air-conditioning using only your voice? Or grow enough vegetables to feed a family of four? What about generating your own electricity without paying TNB?
Here are a few smart home innovations that (we hope) will be common in the average Malaysian home in 10 years. The best part is, they all already exist!
1. You can control your home with your voice
While we may not have a complex A.I system like J.A.R.V.I.S from the Iron Man films yet, we do have smart home devices that are getting there.
The Amazon Echo and Google Home for instances, are smart speakers that act as the main home automation hub. Controlled using your voice, you can tell them to play music, dim your lights, call a taxi, order a pizza, set a timer for your oven, lock your doors, check the traffic, read the news, and many other things; all hands-free of course.
2. Your smart home will know who you are
Home security is a big concern in Malaysia.
Many homes already install door locks that unlock with your fingerprint. But in the near future, your home will recognise you by the way you walk, or the using voice recognition. It will also detect your smart watch or mobile phones to let you in. Home security devices such as the Scout Alarm will notify you if there’s an intruder.
And because these futuristic smart home security gadgets will recognise you, it can also control the lights and set the aircon to your preferred temperature when you walk into the room. When you get up in the morning, it will even make your coffee.
3. You can watch any show you like, anytime you like
10 years ago, telephones, DVD players and huge CRT monitor screens were prominent in Malaysian homes. Now they’re practically non-existent and are replaced with flat screen televisions, streaming devices, and smart appliances.
Though you might still find a few individuals here or there browsing through the aisles of movies, TV dramas and at a lesser extent, music, the majority have moved on to streaming services like Netflix, iflix and Spotify, or prefer to purchase digital copies at online stores instead of physical discs.
As technology and internet connectivity becomes faster and better, so will the transformation of our home entertainment. Faster internet speeds will allow you to stream and download movies and music. And, as mentioned above, you just need to talk to your home to start playing music.
4. Your furniture will change its layout to suit your needs
With property prices going up, and increasing population in urban areas, bigger homes will become out of reach. Smaller and more affordable homes will become more prominent.
It also means that all your rooms will become smaller. Nowadays, it’s common to see a tiny kitchen in condos, and the dining and living areas are squashed together.
Instead of having smaller rooms for each functions, why not create one big room that transforms to suit your needs? That’s what the people at Ori did.
The Ori system is an example of furniture that is able to transform itself into a bed at night; an entertainment area for the weekends; and a work area in the weekday.
5. You will be able to grow enough vegetables to feed your family
While it might sound impractical now, micro gardens are starting to get popular with people who live in smaller homes without the luxury of a garden space.
These micro gardens are fully self-regulated to get just the right amount of water, light and nutrients. And you can monitor and control them using your phone. You can even customise your preference – e.g. whether you want sweeter or more bitter leaves – and the app will control the rest. There’s no need to change the soil (the plant is soaked in nutrient water) or place it under sunlight because it comes with its own special, low-energy consumption LED light.
With the concerns around chemicals and pesticides, who wouldn’t want to eat fresh vegetables grown at home?
6. You will be able to generate your own electricity and decrease your carbon footprint
Starting from June 2016, Malaysians have to separate their trash or face a fine. But why stop there? Why not recycle your food scraps into fertiliser or cooking gas? Futuristic biodigesters will soon be able to turn your food waste into clean, reusable energy in the form of cooking gas or fertilisers in a short space of time.
And to save on electricity, you can replace your roof tiles with solar roof tiles that can generate your own electricity, so you won’t need to pay TNB every month.
Green homes will likely become more affordable in the future too. A Malaysian company recently unveiled an off-the-grid home. This green home has a natural water filtration system that collects rainwater, and smart air ventilation that keep the house passively cool, without an air-conditioner!
What other smart home gadgets do you wish you had? Tell us in the comments!