Commentary

The Smart, Connected Home: Social Robots, Facial Recognition, In-House Mapping By Vacuum

The so-called smart home is still a work in progress.

Connecting something in a home to the Internet is not so overwhelming a task.

For example, with home networks, many consumers have figured out how to get their smart TV connected to that same network.

They then open their TV to much more of the outside world, or at least the entire digital world of the Internet.

Setting up a smart door lock or a home monitoring video camera, like a Canary, which drives my family totally crazy, is also not that complex.

The tough part comes in figuring how to make lots of these connected things work together.

This was highlighted yet again at recent the Rework Connected Home Summit in Boston.

Numerous presentations showed innovative and clever designs for current and coming IoT products.

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Chris Jones, vice president of iRobot, demonstrated how the company’s robotic vacuum, while cleaning the floor, can digitally map the interior of a house, creating what he called special context.

With some 15 million of these robots in use, the company has mapped somewhere in the vicinity of 500 million square feet of houses.

And then David Isbitski, chief evangelist of Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, promoted how voice was a better interface than touch. His thing was about creating what he called ambient computing with the robot becoming the home expert. He also suggested that some of the business models around voice activity will be advertising supported.

And then there’s the social robot Jibo, which has a personality that grows with a family over time, as I wrote about here recently (New Doorways To Advertising: Meet Jibo, The Social Robot).

Modar Alaoui, CEO and founder of Eyeris, presented face recognition technology that can detect a person’s mood in real time, which he effectively demonstrated. The system can create what he referred to as domestic ambient intelligence.

Currently being used to determine effective advertising, the Affectiva facial recognition system captures emotional data based on light reflected from the skin, according to Daniel McDuff, principal research scientist, who presented that technology.

None of these are end-to-end smart home systems, of course

However, these and many other innovations targeted to at least some home smartness are an indicator of how consumers may behave in their households in the future, and where marketing may fit within that new universe.

 

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