The Evolution Of Home Automation | Avnet Abacus

Display portlet menu

The Evolution Of Home Automation | Avnet Abacus

Display portlet menu

From enabled to proactive: The evolution of home automation

Just how smart can a smart home get? Tomorrow’s home is a true a brainiac, making decisions for you before you even think to tell it to.


Just how smart can a smart home get? Tomorrow’s home is a true a brainiac, making decisions for you before you even think to tell it to.

A hundred years ago, a smart home was one with the first electric home machinery. Fast forward to the 1980s and smart homes were samples of “cybertecture” (cyberspace’s influence on architecture), according to the National Association of Home Builders. By 2008, the number of connected devices on the planet outnumbered the amount of people. 

Now, there are so many advancements we have three levels of home automation: enabled, connected and proactive.

Today: The age of the enabled home

Think of a basic Google search: instead of crawling the web for an answer from a secure website yourself, the search engine does it for you. Current home technology was mainly driven by that same need for safety or convenience. A home refrigerator makes life easier. An expanded security system makes the home feel safer.

The problem is that all of these systems exist in a vacuum: none of them speaks with the other, each performs its function alone, and all require a high level of human involvement.

For the 20th century, this was enough. However, as the demand for smart home technology grows, so will the need for the kind of connection available in other Internet of Things (IoT) applications to appear in the home. In fact, Gartner predicts more than 20 billion connected things by 2020, nearly three times the world’s population of people.

For engineers, that means managing hardware protocols that properly communicate with associated software. For designers, there’s a balance between quality, cost and aesthetics, ensuring that placement of antennas is functional and scalable.

The connected home is well within reach

As search behavior evolved, so did searches. We no longer need to put in two or three keywords. Full sentences and phrases typed into URL bars yield results. Plus, virtual assistants translate full sentences of spoken queries to similar effect. That’s connection.

The confluence of increased hardware technology in the form of sensors, interconnects and their corresponding devices with software, app, gateway and cloud technology has created the right environment for this same kind of connection in a home.

The ins and outs of home automation standards like LonWorks. EnOcean, Thread, KNX® and BACnet are just a few to juggle as connected home technology grows. For an application to be truly successful, it must blend sensing, wireless connectivity and cloud connection into a single platform. Plus, that platform has to not only allow all the different things in a smart home to speak to each other—but also to speak in the same, secure language.

The future: predictive technology in the proactive home

When Google begins to predict what a question is before it’s even done; that’s prediction. Homes will go through this evolution as well. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is the main gap between the connected home and the proactive home.

Rather than just collecting data, machine learning will help smart devices derive insights from that data. Instead of just following programmed instructions, the device allows for more personalisation based on homeowner preferences. Then, without human intervention, machines will also get smarter, adapting to changing needs over time. The result is machines relating to humans in increasingly more human ways. Think of Siri for a home: natural language processing blended with cognitive systems that enable the entire home.

The way forward for designers and engineers

Nearly 72% of millennial homeowners are willing to pay thousands more for smart home features, according to a 2016 study. From irrigation systems and window coverings that respond to their environments to lighting schemes and HVAC systems that grow accustomed to preferences, tomorrow’s homes will have to be predictive to be competitive.

Are you developing an application that could help enable the world's connected homes? Chances are you'll be considering antennas as part of your wireless connectivity solution. Avnet Abacus has worked closely with Molex to bring you a range of antenna solutions ideal for a wide range of Connected Home applications, as well as an ecosystem of resources and expertise to help you achieve the proactive home of the future.

Want more like this? Sign up for our newsletters

The Evolution Of Home Automation | Avnet Abacus

Display portlet menu
Contact our product specialists

Ask an expert

Have a question? Our regional technical specialists are on hand to help.

The Evolution Of Home Automation | Avnet Abacus

Display portlet menu
Related Articles
A photo of various antennas laid out on a white background
4 keys to selecting antennas for small IoT devices
November 19, 2019
Wireless connectivity is a critical enabler for many IoT applications. While a wireless module can simplify the RF subsystem design, a working system requires careful selection of an antenna as well.
There are two primary technologies used in detecting the presence of people, pyro-electric / passive infra-red (PIR) and ultrasonic. Alessandro Mastellari takes a look at how they differ and how they work.
PIR and ultrasonic sensors: What's the difference and how do they work?
By Alessandro Mastellari   -   October 21, 2019
There are two primary technologies used in detecting the presence of people, pyro-electric / passive infra-red (PIR) and ultrasonic. Alessandro Mastellari takes a look at how they differ and how they work.
With more and more applications combining data from multiple sensors, Alessandro Mastellari looks at how sensor fusion is being applied with pressure sensors.
How can combining different types of sensors result in more accurate data?
By Alessandro Mastellari   -   May 9, 2019
With more and more applications combining data from multiple sensors, Alessandro Mastellari looks at how sensor fusion is being applied with pressure sensors.
To give the electronic systems we design the ability to detect changes to what is around them we need analogue sensors. But the processing that sits behind those sensors is in almost every case going to be in the digital domain.
Pressure sensors: Why you should consider going digital
By Martin Keenan   -   May 9, 2019
To give the electronic systems we design the ability to detect changes to what is around them we need analogue sensors. But the processing that sits behind those sensors is in almost every case going to be in the digital domain.
In the second installment of our pressure sensor series Alessandro Mastellari explores how manufacturers are developing smaller and smaller devices.
Pressure sensor miniaturisation: How smaller sensors are enabling better healthcare
By Alessandro Mastellari   -   May 8, 2019
In the second installment of our pressure sensor series Alessandro Mastellari explores how manufacturers are developing smaller and smaller devices.
Pressure sensors became to automotive systems in the early 1990s, but as the rate of adoption of these components increases Martin Keenan investigates why.
What the growing pressure sensor market means for electronics
By Martin Keenan   -   May 8, 2019
Pressure sensors became to automotive systems in the early 1990s, but as the rate of adoption of these components increases Martin Keenan investigates why.
Recent advances in wireless technology have enabled the use of mesh network topologies in home and building control applications, but what are your options, and can you combine them?
A quick guide to multi-standard mesh networking
By Alessandro Mastellari   -   April 11, 2019
Recent advances in wireless technology have enabled the use of mesh network topologies in home and building control applications, but what are your options, and can you combine them?
To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke to two female engineers at different points in their careers – one from the UK and one from Germany – to find out from them what their take is on being a woman in engineering
Women in engineering – where are we now?
By Lisa Rees   -   March 7, 2019
To mark International Women’s Day, we spoke to two female engineers at different points in their careers – one from the UK and one from Germany – to find out from them what their take is on being a woman in engineering and to learn more about t
As the world becomes increasingly smart and connected, batteries can be undesirable in some of the use cases. Kinetic energy harvesting is an alternative that can help achieve longer operating lifetimes, relieve ownership costs, and ideally improve r
A quick guide to powering smart objects with kinetic energy harvesting
By Alessandro Mastellari   -   January 22, 2019
As the world becomes increasingly smart and connected, batteries can be undesirable in some of the use cases. Kinetic energy harvesting is an alternative that can help achieve longer operating lifetimes, relieve ownership costs, and ideally improve r
And so electronica 2018 is over. In our final post, we look back on the best bits of day three.
From humanoids to holograms and humanity projects - How Avnet showcased the future at electronica
November 16, 2018
And so electronica 2018 is over. In our final post, we look back on the best bits of day three.
Another day at electronica 2018 has passed and it was arguably even busier than the first. A constant stream of customers and suppliers kept the atmosphere on the Avnet Abacus stand buzzing, and our schedule was packed full of great speakers and demo
electronica 2018 day two highlights
November 15, 2018
Another day at electronica 2018 has passed and it was arguably even busier than the first. A constant stream of customers and suppliers kept the atmosphere on the Avnet Abacus stand buzzing, and our schedule was packed full of great speakers and demo
On a crisp morning at Messe Munich there was an excited buzz around the exhibition centre as electronica 2018 opened its doors. Read what happened on day one.
electronica 2018 day one highlights
November 13, 2018
On a crisp morning at Messe Munich there was an excited buzz around the exhibition centre as electronica 2018 opened its doors. Read what happened on day one.
As electronica 2018 prepares to open its doors, here are three reasons you should visit Avnet Abacus on stand C5 101 this week.
3 reasons to visit Avnet Abacus at electronica 2018
November 12, 2018
As electronica 2018 prepares to open its doors, here are three reasons you should visit Avnet Abacus on stand C5 101 this week.
When faced with the need to make design decisions, system engineers are challenged with multiple options, any of which can have a major impact on the effectiveness of the wireless performance.There are many considerations when selecting RF antennas f
Key design considerations for selecting the right RF antenna
August 7, 2018
When faced with the need to make design decisions, system engineers are challenged with multiple options, any of which can have a major impact on the effectiveness of the wireless performance.There are many considerations when selecting RF antennas f
The new era of home security won’t just be an alarm that rings when a lock is picked or a window broken. With the rise of new technology comes the added need to protect a home’s hardware and its software.
Security and surveillance: Two sides of the coin in smart homes
By Martin Keenan   -   July 9, 2018
The new era of home security won’t just be an alarm that rings when a lock is picked or a window broken. With the rise of new technology comes the added need to protect a home’s hardware and its software.
You've selected your wireless protocol, and you're ready to start designing. But should you take the modular route or build a discrete solution?
Wireless modules point the way for IoT connectivity
By Martin Keenan   -   June 26, 2018
You've selected your wireless protocol, and you're ready to start designing. But should you take the modular route or build a discrete solution?
Wireless technology is endemic in modern society; broadly speaking we rely on cellular technology to stay connected when we’re travelling, and probably WiFi when we’re not.
Choosing the right wireless technology for your IoT end-device
By Adam Chidley   -   May 4, 2018
Wireless communications will connect the IoT, but it’s not quite as straightforward as adding a Wi-Fi access point to your home broadband. Avnet Abacus’ Adam Chidley takes a look at low power WANs and why they will be essential in connecting thin
The role of the battery in product design has become increasingly important. In fact, you could say it has provoked a change in design methodology, albeit with a bit of help from legislative bodies.
Optimising battery designs with supercapacitors
By Tim Parker   -   April 30, 2018
The role of the battery in product design has become increasingly important. In fact, you could say it has provoked a change in design methodology, albeit with a bit of help from legislative bodies.
Man controlling home devices via his watch
Let your home do the work so you don't have to
By Martin Keenan   -   March 29, 2018
Today, we need to interact with connected products in the home deliberately. But it does not have to stay this way.
The passive infrared sensor (PIR) seems so familiar that it is easy to miss the many applications that exist for it and the subtleties of engineering that guide the best ways in which to use it.
Adapting PIR sensor technology to new applications
By Martin Keenan   -   February 7, 2018
The passive infrared sensor (PIR) seems so familiar that it is easy to miss the many applications that exist for it and the subtleties of engineering that guide the best ways in which to use it.
Do you know where your product has been and where it is going right now? This is the challenge that many manufacturers and logistics companies face in the management of their supply chains, but how can RFID technology solve it?
Enabling smart tracking for the supply chain and Industry 4.0 with RFID
By Adam Chidley   -   September 27, 2017
Do you know where your product has been and where it is going right now? This is the challenge that many manufacturers and logistics companies face in the management of their supply chains, but how can RFID technology solve it?
Thanks to the emergence of the internet of things (IoT), almost all of today’s electronic device designs will have to integrate some form of wireless connectivity or other. The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to do this is with wireless modules.
State-of-the-art wireless modules save time, space and money
By Martin Keenan   -   September 12, 2017
Thanks to the emergence of the internet of things (IoT), almost all of today’s electronic device designs will have to integrate some form of wireless connectivity or other. The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to do this is with wireless modules.
In an increasingly connected world, performance demands on antennas are greater than ever. These increased performance demands also have to be balanced with cost, and of course, the limits imposed by the laws of physics, which make antenna design a t
Customising and optimising antennas with materials science and manufacturing techniques
By Martin Keenan   -   July 14, 2017
In an increasingly connected world, performance demands on antennas are greater than ever. These increased performance demands also have to be balanced with cost, and of course, the limits imposed by the laws of physics, which make antenna design a t
Specialised enclosures and switches are required for electronics’ survival in the great outdoors, writes Jerry Moss, Avnet Abacus.
Weather, corrosion and vandals: Protecting outdoor electronics
By Jerry Moss   -   June 30, 2017
Specialised enclosures and switches are required for electronics’ survival in the great outdoors, writes Jerry Moss, Avnet Abacus.
Datacentre racks
Chip-to-chip at the speed of light
By Marco Enge   -   March 31, 2017
As data centres and data farms continue to expand and grow, better solutions are required for system architectures that allow faster communication and more efficient operation.
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wireless modules for smartphones, including supplying some of the very biggest names in the market, Murata knows a thing or two about wireless technologies, and also about manufacturing modules.
Designing for LoRaWAN - Murata wireless modules
By Martin Keenan   -   December 1, 2016
As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wireless modules for smartphones, including supplying some of the very biggest names in the market, Murata knows a thing or two about wireless technologies, and also about manufacturing modules.
Bluetooth Beacons and NFC (Near Field Communication) are often mentioned in the same breath, but in terms of technology and applications, they are not really that similar.
NFC vs. Bluetooth beacons: More different than similar
By Martin Keenan   -   August 12, 2016
Bluetooth Beacons and NFC (Near Field Communication) are often mentioned in the same breath, but in terms of technology and applications, they are not really that similar.
Selecting the right cable and/or connector assembly for a fibre optic installation need not be complex, but it is important to understand the requirements of the environment and the application.
Selecting fibre optic cables
By Marco Enge   -   July 12, 2016
Selecting the right cable and/or connector assembly for a fibre optic installation need not be complex, but it is important to understand the requirements of the environment and the application.
Battery charging without cables can add convenience, durability and safety to a number of different applications.
A quick introduction to wireless charging
By Alan Jermyn   -   November 20, 2015
Battery charging without cables can add convenience, durability and safety to a number of different applications.
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has undergone phenomenal growth in recent years and connectivity is becoming increasingly reliant upon wireless networks.
Latest developments in antennas for M2M communications
By Marco Enge   -   April 30, 2015
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has undergone phenomenal growth in recent years and connectivity is becoming increasingly reliant upon wireless networks.
A growing pre-occupation with leading healthier life styles means that many of us are becoming much more sensitive to the environment around us, and in particular air quality.
How sensitivity to our environment is creating a growing market for air quality sensors
By Giovanna Monari   -   April 2, 2015
A growing pre-occupation with leading healthier life styles means that many of us are becoming much more sensitive to the environment around us, and in particular air quality.

The Evolution Of Home Automation | Avnet Abacus

Display portlet menu
Related Events