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We are surrounded by “modern smart technology” whether we are at home or work. But what makes modern technology “smart”? Can appliances, devices, commercial spaces and machines be intelligent and what exactly does this mean?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence is a variety of algorithms and theories used by computers to mimic human skills. Most of us are familiar with AI benefits thanks to Siri or Amazon Alexa. Machine Learning involves the utilization of specific AI algorithms where a machine “learns” certain procedures. Machine learning algorithms recognize both patterns and anomalies which is advantageous both for security and system maintenance for cooling, heating, and illumination. Digital data accrued using video, acoustic, and electronic sensors are analyzed to facilitate and improve operations. 

AI is increasingly used for security strategies, energy consumption monitoring, and equipment maintenance necessities to name but a few. In the past, both security and maintenance responses were reactive, however, thanks to smart technology that is no longer the case. When a shoplifter stole, security reacted or when a machine broke down maintenance was called in. 

Smart technology now permits security to be proactive, anticipating incidents and potential dangers. Equipment maintenance can be predictive by calling for upkeep before a breakdown occurs. By implementing smart technology operations improve, energy resources are used more efficiently, and daily life offers many more conveniences.

Connectivity Is the Key

Within homes and businesses, smart technology is synonymous with smart systems. Entire homes and businesses can have their lighting controlled by a single system programmed according to specific routines and schedules or a system can turn lights on and off using movement detection sensors. 

Home or office appliances and devices are connected through Wi-Fi and can be managed remotely. The security video feed can be accessed from any mobile device with an internet connection. Hi-speed connections are in development with mesh Wi-Fi that eliminates dead spots when users move further away from the router, paving the way for more smart devices to connect.

IoT – The Internet of Things

The integration of AI has rendered appliances, devices, and machines more functional. Smart technology helps to turn machines on and off. To-do lists can be updated. Appliances like washing machines can alert smartphones when a wash cycle is finished. Air fryers and ovens can notify users when preheating is achieved. For nearly every appliance or device, there is a smart version, and most have companion apps or functions using voice control so you can program their use according to your needs.

Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa allow users to program devices working together as do the Apple Home Kit, IFTTT, and Matter. From commercial security cameras, video doorbells or access control, smart locks that use voice or fingerprints to open and close, audio speakers, smart light bulbs, and smart plugs, to smart kitchen devices, smart technology is everywhere and is making chores easier to complete with greater convenience. Just consider a self-emptying robot vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t get much easier.

Touchless Technology

Contactless technology already existed before Covid-19 rendered it obligatory. Smart homes and offices have appliances and devices that can be activated or shut down using a mobile app. Residents and employees are no longer required to touch equipment, but only to touch their smartphone or mobile device. Access control systems, doorbells, or video intercom systems can all be programmed to use mobile device credentials that do not require shared surfaces where germs can spread.

Energy Management 

Energy consumption can deplete resources, pollute, and it’s expensive. Many buildings now use smart thermostats. These can be managed remotely so you can turn on the heat or air conditioning before arriving or shut it off if you make other plans. This contributes to conserving energy when users are not in the office or at home and cut down on costly utility bills.  Smart plugs where appliances are connected can monitor energy consumption.

Health Technology

In the aftermath of the pandemic, smart technology has focused on health benefits including thermal doorbells to measure temperatures. Smart thermostats to regulate environmental temperature now integrate humidity sensors and air purifiers. Smart water filtration systems aid in maintaining health and advanced toilets can even analyze waste for indications of a user’s overall health and send alerts when warranted. Technology-based home fitness integrated into workout equipment can now be connected to smartwatches for health monitoring.

Smart Security

Security systems have improved notably thanks to smart technology. Businesses and homes can be checked remotely from anywhere. Access control systems are a principal safety tool. There is no losing time fumbling with a key or having it stolen or lost. Access can be granted to delivery and service professionals even when you are not present. 

Lighting can be activated either remotely or with motion sensors. Lockdowns, both partial and complete, can be triggered when necessary. Local authorities, security personnel, and first responders can be automatically alerted in the event of an intrusion, fire, flooding, or other threats. Businesses benefit from video monitoring systems that are automated and use AI. Suspicious behavior can be identified, and security personnel alerted before an incident happens. What once was only imagined in science fiction, is today’s smart technology.

Published by HOLR Magazine.