SMART HOME, BETWEEN DOMOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

What is the smart home for and how are domotics and artificial intelligence connected? Artificial intelligence is one of the most promising technologies on which most of the digital investments of companies in different sector are concentrated:

  • In the medical field it is already widely used for diagnoses;
  • In meteorology it helps to predict natural phenomena such as floods and earthquakes;
  • In the banking sector, it can effectively anticipate and combat transaction fraud;
  • In public administration it generates interoperability between services;
  • In domotics, it creates smart homes.

WHAT IS DOMOTICS?

What relationship is between artificial intelligence and home automation? Domotics is the science that deals with technologies aimed at improving home life through systems that are able to learn the habits of the inhabitants of the house based on the their requests, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence is therefore the ability of a computer to replicate the typical functions of the human mind. The wireless connection has certainly encouraged the spread of devices connected to the network, the so-called Internet of Things. Many daily activities have been simplified and the data contained in our devices (also called big data) is much more than in the past.

The Internet of Things, the network of internet-connected devices, includes fitness sensors, cars, radios, air conditioners, appliances, light bulbs, cameras and much more. Any electronic device equipped with software that allows it to exchange data with other connected objects makes the objects recognisable and intelligent.

SMART HOME, BETWEEN DOMOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Alexa and Google’s assistant are able to not only answer our questions, but also to anticipate them or give us suggestions based on our habits. Today, thanks to artificial intelligence, our smartphone suggests booking a certain restaurant or shop thanks to the information stored by Google Maps.

The smart home assimilates user behaviour and suggests subsequent actions, such as turning on the heating and activating the dishwasher during the day at a certain time to save money. A subsequent evolution of artificial intelligence is the analysis of user emotions with suggestions for daily life and complex behaviours, such as wearing a particular type of clothing for a business meeting.

IoT applications and systems integrated into domestic environments

But what does it mean to adopt applications and IoT systems integrated into domestic environments? Almost everyone now owns a smart object at home to save time in the daily management of household chore, to save money and to be notified in real time in case of break-in. In fact, smart accessories can also be managed remotely, as long as you have an internet network and a device with the dedicated app from which to send remote commands.

Video camera and anti-intrusion systems

The decision to install cameras near our home must be accompanied by compliance with current legislation of the area where the shooting will take place.

It is good to choose a product that guarantees security from both a hardware and software point of view, and which provides for the encryption of images.

Televisions and voice recognition

Managing the air conditioning of your home just from an app on your smartphone is now possible, saving time and money. The new smart TVs allow us to listen to music, surf online and connect our Amazon Prime Video and Netflix accounts.

Voice recognition devices are certainly the ones that most of all have privacy’s risks. Alexa, Google Home, Amazon Echo and the other small robots, which use AI to store information about us, take advantage of complex self-learning mechanisms, acquiring a lot of personal data that could be used against us or easily disclosed.

The future of the smart home after CES 2020

It is expected that artificial intelligence will not only be able to give useful suggestions to the user, but that it will experiment independently with the data obtained and with sensors such as the smartwatch. In other words, the virtual assistant becomes our close collaborator.

At CES 2020 experts talked about trust, trust as a marketing tool for companies that develop these ultra-innovative solutions in the sector of smart health and smart home.

Trust, but also faith, credibility and reliability. Here are the features that enable us to welcome a virtual assistant into the house with a microphone and cameras that capture our life inside and outside the home.

Trust must above all derive from the knowledge of the exact path that our data make and how it is used, without blindly trusting the convenience of a service that simplifies our life.

How to protect our privacy?

Here are some precautions to be taken when using IoT systems:

  • Since all the devices are connected to a wi-fi network to work, it is important to make this network more secure, perhaps using a reliable router and always changing the default password. It is also essential to change the network name to avoid making it identifiable and traceable to us;
  • Register each device on the manufacturer's website and make all the recommended updates, because they are often relate to corrections to software security systems;
  • Always unplug unused devices to avoid leaving them “listening” if we are not using them. The same goes for the wi-fi network;
  • Restore the factory default settings before deleting the devices, to remove all our data from the device before leaving it forever.

THE DIFFUSION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, THE APPLICATIONS IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Innovation in daily life began with home automation and with the spread of devices such as Google Home or Alexa, virtual home assistants that integrate into users’ personal space, memorise their habits and operate on the rooms and objects of the house, activating and/or checking them.

A fundamental aspect of artificial intelligence is research. Every time we interact with the research, we send a signal to the AI systems, which consequently use that data to improve themselves and provide us with the best, fastest and most relevant answers.

Artificial intelligence can even advise farmers on the best time to plant crops and monitor their well-being, it can protect devices from malware and even help scientists treat diseases and ailments. Therefore, AI not only improves our quality of life, but helps save lives. Its impact is very large but we are not yet fully aware of it.

Here are some of the areas in which artificial intelligence is most widespread:

  • Travel - The traditional TomTom is replaced by applications capable of learning from user inputs, of identifying routes avoiding queues, road accidents and slowdowns. These navigation services learn from the habits of users;
  • Automotive - Self-driving vehicles learn from experience and can virtually drive cars and prevent driver errors. Think also of the customisations based on the driver's needs, from temperature to music, from paying the toll to fuel and to the programmed stops at the motorway service station;
  • Online searches - Search engines exploit artificial intelligence by constantly learning from user behaviour in order to offer personalised results;
  • Sports - The major sportswear brands are increasingly focusing on apps to combine with specific products. Think of the shoes that calculate the performance and communicate vital parameters, which suggest the activities to be carried out and monitor the objectives achieved.

The new consumer solutions are still growing today to enrich the user experience in every area. Let’s see some of them.

Artificial intelligence and assistance to the elderly

There are robots capable of opening doors, climbing stairs, grasping objects, recognising the emotional state of the elderly, lifting patients who are no longer autonomous, recognising people’s faces and monitoring body movements, assisting sick people and helping the elderly to stay active and committed.

Although all of this still feels like science fiction, robotics and domotics are already changing our society. What will become the human work?

Artificial intelligence can be applied in various ways to assisting the elderly, since it simulates the movements of people and understands their needs.

Smart home, home solutions and domotics for assistance

Smart home is an intelligent system that manages various domestic functions, such as the assistant Google and Alexa who interact with appliances. They are able to monitor vacuum cleaners, ovens, washing machines, pressure cookers with only voice control. In the same way, the smart home can prevent gas leaks, floods and fires, it can facilitate energy savings and intelligent air conditioning. It is possible to connect remotely with medical emergency services and remote monitoring of the elderly, thanks to the cameras installed in the house. In other words, domotics makes everyday life easier.

The Internet of Things can also be applied within home environment. The open Home Connect platform offers the regulation of lighting, entertainment devices and smart gardening equipment from different manufacturers.

Domotics and autonomous driving

In the automotive sector, AI helps develop life-saving safety systems for drivers, such as ABS, ESP and airbag control units, in order to make driver assistance systems more efficient and intelligent.

There is also a virtual sun visor, the Virtual Visor, digital and transparent and equipped with an LCD display connected to the internal monitoring camera to detect the position of the driver’s eyes. In this way the instrument obscures the part of the windscreen through which the sun dazzles the driver. The display generates a realistic three-dimensional effect of the images and visual information which are thus received more quickly, increasing safety on the road.

It is also possible to detect if the driver is tired or looks at the smartphone from the eyelid movements, the direction of the gaze and the position of the head. In addition, the Virtual Visor monitors the interior of the vehicle to determine the number of passengers, where and how they are seated, and to optimise the operation of the safety devices based on the results detected.

Artificial intelligence, space and medicine

The SoundSee sensor system, aboard NASA‘s Astrobee robot, isolates abnormal noises on the International Space Station and analyses the audio with AI technology to signal the need for maintenance.

Vivascope, on the other hand, is a smart platform for pathologies that helps in medical diagnosis. The software enlarges and digitises blood samples and other body fluids, and then analyses them with the help of algorithms based on artificial intelligence. The result is a rapid and precise analysis of cell anomalies for evaluation and diagnosis.

Smart glasses

Smart glasses with Light Drive technology are the first sensor-based solution in the world to make a normal pair of glasses smart. Thin and light, Smart glasses project information in the wearer’s field of view, such as navigation information, SMS, address books, calendar and operating instructions.

Smart technology protects the environment

Even the climate issue can be involved in the development of artificial intelligence technologies, with low environmental impact solutions. For example, an internal energy platform, equipped with intelligent algorithms, can indicate energy consumption or allow some plants to reduce their CO2 emissions.

TREVIS, THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PROTOTYPE OF FACEBOOK

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, also presented a prototype of domestic artificial intelligence not yet on the market.

Mark Zuckerberg’s goal was to design a simple system to install at his home to learn more about artificial intelligence. The system does not communicate through its smartphone, but controls the lighting, thermostats, audio and security system and learns user preferences and habits thanks to facial recognition and reinforcement learning.

Jarvis, Facebook’s AI, recognises who is sending the command and customises the response according to the user who requested it. A code connects all the devices in the house, even those that do not have access to the network, for remote control through connected switches.

Artificial intelligence is managed through a server to which the various IoT devices are connected with which you can interface via the voice recognition app and the cameras installed.

While still a prototype in a single home, Jarvis can also be improved by a machine learning system to allow AI to learn new skills independently.

If you found this article interesting, read also:

FACIAL RECOGNITION AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ETHICS: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP?

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