A research report indicates that the smart home appliances industry is poised to progress at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16 percent during the period of 2020 to 2024. To put things into perspective, the market is forecasted to grow by a whopping $31.66 billion in this time period. The growth is attributed to the industry’s receptiveness to innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Since the very inception of these technologies, they have advanced to such an extent that machines are now able to complement and even extend human capabilities.
Integration of AI to make electronics smart
Smart electronic appliances have automated a number of daily mundane tasks at home with the help of sensors, networking, and data processing technology. The world of smart electronics allows us to communicate with the machines and give them commands almost as if they were real human beings. Let’s have a look at some of the smart home appliances which have made our lives more convenient than ever.
Smart refrigerators typically feature a touchscreen display which can be used to perform various activities such as looking up at recipes, creating grocery lists, arranging schedules for the family, and setting up food expiration alerts.
The smart refrigerators are usually connected to a mobile application that allows the user to perform tasks remotely. Machine learning algorithms are implemented to identify and keep a check on the food items in the refrigerator. This data can be communicated with the user through the mobile application itself, which is particularly helpful for working professionals who spend many hours in the office. Many models also allow the users to regulate the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer through the application.
Moreover, the smart refrigerator can also connect with other smart appliances within the same network. This interconnection of smart home devices is extremely beneficial as appliances can coordinate several activities amongst themselves. For example, a user may select a recipe on the refrigerator to start cooking something. The AI-assisted appliance then signals the smart oven which automatically begins the preheating process for cooking.
Smart Washing Machines
Doing laundry can be a monotonous routine for many. Separating the colours from the whites is tedious enough, but courtesy of a smart washing machine, users do not have to stay at home to put the washing on and wait for the cycles to get completed. Users can operate the WiFi-enabled machine remotely, with the help of a smartphone application. Moreover, users can monitor the status of the wash via the app and receive reminders after completion which will prevent them from forgetting about the wash, something that troubles a lot of people.
Another great feature is that smart washers can analyze the load of the laundry and will use only the required amount of energy and water which can help one save money on the energy bills.
These AI-powered machines also offer troubleshooting assistance which can automatically diagnose and alert the users about any issues via the smartphone application. The machines are capable of detecting trivial issues such as blockage to significant issues that might require the attention of a professional.
Be it Amazon Echo, Google Nest or Apple HomePod, these relatively inexpensive smart home devices are owned by many households to control the entire home at the ease of voice commands.
Smart speakers can connect to the internet via WiFi and can stream music from online platforms. Some speakers also provide an optional Bluetooth connectivity to stream music from smartphones and tablets. A smart speaker has a microphone which allows you to give commands to your voice assistant. Whether it is answering a general knowledge question, getting weather updates, controlling smart lights, dictating messages, reading audiobooks or curating a shopping list, your smart home assistant is capable of many cool features than what can be fathomed.
Conversations from voice assistants are a result of sophisticated algorithms which generate tens of thousands of dialogues between the voice assistant and the user. This broad dataset includes happy paths and phrasing variations to build a wide variety of potential dialogue paths. This synthetic data is combined with pre-trained components to train neural networks. The trained model has the capability to predict the next part of the dialogues based on factors such as conversation history, current state and other capabilities provided by the application programming interface (API). Therefore, the voice assistants utilise AI to do the heavy lifting of handling conversational elements and creating dialogue paths.
Smart TVs offer a wide range of applications through internet connectivity. This paves way for new sources of entertainment such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, etc. Users can also play games and browse through social media platforms of their choice.
Most of the smart TVs can also support voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant for seamless switching between channels with simple voice commands. They are also compatible with other devices in the network such as smart lights and smart speakers.
Smart TVs have started gaining more smart home functionalities in the recent models. Moreover, many companies offer periodic software upgrades to incorporate the latest features and to fix any technical or security glitches.
Research advances towards achieving computer vision through low-power chips
Although AI has made remarkable progress through the years, it is well known that technology often requires a gargantuan amount of data and computing resources which is quite expensive. However, extensive research is being carried out to find a solution to this problem.
Recently, researchers demonstrated how a very advanced computer vision algorithm can be crammed on a single low-power chip which can reportedly run for months on the same battery. The algorithm was capable of recognizing a thousand types of objects with an accuracy of 70 percent in contrast to the previous best of 54 percent accuracy. This is a huge stride in AI research as it could potentially pave the way for more sophisticated AI capabilities in smart home appliances. Moreover, it could also address the security issues by minimizing the need to transfer sensitive data to the cloud.