Home technology is getting smarter every day. Home automation is becoming the new number one consumer trend. The biggest technology companies have been investing in developing their smart home systems for some time now, and as the market is growing at a really fast pace, it seems that the future of our homes is fully automated and computerised. Hopefully, this means better energy efficiency, convenience, comfort and well-being.
Most of the solutions that are being developed now aim at increasing safety and comfort and even improving our health. By providing the right amount of daylight, heat and fresh air smart home technology will become a reliable tool to regulate our living environments based on our individual needs, habits and desires. One of the most cutting-edge technologies that are being developed nowadays aim at creating devices that in the future will be able to feel our pulse and automatically adjust the lighting, room temperature or even play music based on personalized preferences and pre-configured profiles.
Smart glass and smart windows are one of the solutions that have been present on the market for years now. They are being systematically upgraded and developed to create climate adapting interiors that will enable to cut down energy costs and usage (by optimising heating, lighting and air-conditioning options).
Smart windows produced by leading IT companies, such as Samsung, Phillips or Google, have multiple applications. Using such technologies as nanocrystal or micro-shades, you can control the amount of light passing through and as a result eliminate blinds and shades, maximize daylight and minimize glare. A kind of electrochromic smart glass can change colour in response to the addition or removal of electronic charge. In practice it is as simple as turning a knob or pressing a button to control how much light enters the room. What is more, such technologies as nanocrystals are able to control not only the visible rays of light but also the invisible for human eye, nearly infrared rays that produce heat. This has direct effect on heating and cooling expenses and it protects interiors from UV rays which cause fading of artworks, photographs and furnishings.
The important aspect is that these technologies address the most common issues we are dealing with today and will be dealing in the future. Energy saving, sustainability and safety are among them. Smart windows technologies stem from the need to deal with those problems. As mentioned before, thanks to smart glass natural light can be used optimally to provide lighting, heating and cooling options. This might lead to a different use of heating systems and air-conditioning, and consequently to significant costs cut-down. Not to mention the hope to eliminate illnesses caused by spending too much time in air-conditioned interiors.
In the last two years, Samsung, still a leader on the market, has patented quite a few solutions other companies can only dream of. The features of their smart glass include shading on demand, access to Android services and application including the option to interact with 3D images projected by the smart glass. Just imagine, your kitchen window would work as your smartphone screen, you would be able to project keypads in mid-air to dial phone numbers, punch in messages or check the weather widget. All this without losing the traditional functions of a transparent glass window!
Naturally, these visionary solutions still have some drawbacks. One of the most commonly mentioned is the affordability. These solutions are still rather pricey, which is why Samsung and other companies, are not able to put their patented technologies into mass production yet. The other common issue is the question of safety. Smart home solutions might potentially become a new target for hackers and burglars. In fact, in May 2016 Samsung SmartThings – a smart hub connecting household devices – was discovered to have several flaws which enabled hackers and malicious applications to unlock doors, falsely set off alarms, reset home access codes, wake devices from vacation mode, and more. The company quickly responded to the crisis, but this has raised questions whether smart home technologies can be fully safe.Smart home solutions is a very exciting trend that will surely be growing in the near future. The idea to simplify our lives and making better use of resources drives the best scientists, designers and IT specialists to create devices and solutions that might seem a bit like magic today, but will soon become the reality for many.