Millennials are taking over as the biggest generation in U.S history, and unlike baby boomers and generation Xers, they are tech-driven and place value in experiences over ownership.
Simply put, this is the generation that prefers working virtually and traveling the world, rather than getting a daytime job, saving for a down payment on the house and taking up a mortgage. According to a survey by FlexJobs, most millennials prefer flexible jobs and their main motivation to work is to save money to travel.
It is therefore not a surprise that this is the generation that has brought forward the sharing economy and blockchain, enabling less expensive and safer cross-border transactions. In the real estate sector, the millennials have given us the likes of Airbnb, a platform that allows people to rent out the extra space in their homes.
But still, the industry has a lot to learn and explore in the tech world. Those looking to tap into the vast market millennials provide should research their needs and preferences and engineer products to match them. The key technologies with the highest potential of disrupting this industry include IoT, AI, and Blockchain.
Millennials Love Smart Homes
Behind the explosive growth of IoT is a generation that loves to control everything, from the door locks of their homes to the flushing of their toilets, using smartphones.
With this level of proclivity towards the IoT technology, it is no wonder that this generation prefers smart homes. According to a study by Wakefield Research, millennials are willing to pay more for a home or rental property if it has the smart technology. In fact, the study shows that this generation is willing to pay up to 20% more for homes that are powered by the smart technology. According to Real Estate Daily, the key smart homes technology features that attract millennials include smart security, Internet-connected thermostats, and automated lighting.
How AI and Machine Learning Can Help Improve Homes
IoT devices collect huge troves of data which can be harvested and capitalized on to improve the user’s experience. The collected data can be subjected to highly powerful algorithms to derive insights which can be acted upon by businesses and governments.
Also, With Machine Learning, the smart home devices can learn from the harvested data. This means that as the smart homeowner tastes and preferences continue to change, the smart appliances in their home can adapt to fit these changes accordingly. Machine Learning technology makes it possible for smart homes to make decisions by themselves without requiring the manual input of the user.
Imagine a home equipped with sensors that can determine your mood and adjust the environment accordingly. For instance, when tired and sleepy, the stereo in the living room can automatically start playing soothing music and the refrigerator will recommend the type of food or drink to match the mood.
Likewise, a bed can tell that you are tired and adjust the temperatures to allow you to sleep comfortably. Lighting can detect when you are in a room and adjust the lights to fit the activity you are undertaking.
Now imagine that all these devices can tell when you are not happy with their choices and can play with millions of variables to predict your tastes and preferences with high accuracy.
With machine learning, the smart homes can continually improve themselves to be able to closely identify the subtle characteristics that define individuals and provide highly customized services.
Current Dangers and Drawbacks
What if another person with malicious intent accesses your smart home devices and tampers with them? In the worst case scenario, these people would gain entry into your home. Alternatively, they would steal your intimate personal data and use it for their own purposes which could be even more harmful.
According to a study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University, most of the smart home devices in the market today are highly vulnerable to hacking. The study shows that hackers can access a large number of these devices remotely and tamper with their security system just by restoring their default settings.
Again, most smart homeowners do not bother with setting passwords for their system that makes it easier for a third party to access them. This is where the blockchain technology comes in.
Blockchain as a Solution
When running on the blockchain, smart home devices become immutable and therefore safe from cyber attacks. This means that hackers cannot access your home or the data collected by your IoT devices. Additionally, with a blockchain-powered smart home system, you can securely enable other parties to access specific areas and devices without giving them access to everything.
A good example of smart home tech using blockchain for this purpose is Comcast. Their blockchain technology utilizes a permission-based ledger, enabling the homeowner to grant access permissions remotely through a mobile application. The mobile app also enables them to revoke these permissions at the click of a button.
The blockchain-powered smart home technology can also enable homeowners to hire domestic workers for specific tasks and pay them through smart contracts which ensures that the specified conditions between the contractor and the contractee are met before executing the contract.
As technologies in IoT, AI and blockchain continue to expand, there is no doubt that more advanced smart home solutions will come. The best project will be those that are able to offer solutions that combine the three technologies for the safest and best experience possible.