April 5, 2023 - The term "smart home" has become nearly ubiquitous over the past few years. The ability to control home technology via smart phone apps, scheduled scenes, and even voice commands replaced the "old days" of wall switches and remote controls. But what's the next step? What will replace the "smart home?" More and more it's looking like it will be home intelligence.
"Smart home" and "home intelligence" sound like the same thing, but they really aren't. So, what's the difference?
"When you walk into a room and you say, "it's dark in here," that might turn on the lights, but if the lights are already on you might want the shades open," said Scotty Allen, Chief Operating Officer of Josh.ai. "[With home intelligence] you don't have to say specifically which device in the home you want to interact with. You can be more loose with what you want and have the home adapt to what it thinks you need."
Josh.ai is a programming language used to allow voice control of smart home tech. When the company recently moved into a new headquarters in Denver, there was already a shading solution in place but there was no automation. Josh.ai partnered with Somfy, Draper, Captura, Sonance, Samsung, and Ava to turn their new headquarters into a living example of the connected home, but in a commercial space.
"What's unique about how the Josh headquarters brings it together is that ecosystem where when you walk into the space and say, "good morning," lights come on, music comes on, shades open – it's really magical when it can all come together," said Allen. "The more technology there is in the home, it gets complex. But having a really simple interface like "good morning" or "open the shades" makes it really simple to use all that technology, and makes that space so great to be in."
Appearing on an episode of the Draper@Home podcast, Allen, Maryellen Oswald, Custom Integration & Partnerships Channel Manage for Somfy USA, and Tyson McDonald, Director of Business Development, Motorized Solar Solutions for Draper, discussed the advantages as machine learning comes into the home technology mix.
"The exciting thing for us is that in the past it was a very manual process, where you walk up and you hit a button on the wall to have the shade go up or down," said McDonald. "The partnership that we have with both Somfy and Josh.ai has allowed us to extend that out and become part of the home system, of the ecosystem that is within the home."
That means we're entering a world where the home is not automated. We will simply live in a space that is continually comfortable because the system knows what we want.
"So as an example, two people living in a house, one may like natural light and the other just wants it dark all the time," said McDonald. "Knowing who's in the room and what they're using that room for, it can adjust sound levels, light levels, shades to let more natural light in. As opposed to right now having us set schedules and try to figure out how to go about this, the home will figure out what we think is best and adjust for us."
"Being able to have all of these different solutions, being able to open and close your shades, or have that privacy application, even energy-saving solutions – there are many things we can do together," said Oswald. "So when we talk about home intelligence, it's only increasing, and the trends that are coming, it's really exciting right now to be part of this industry and part of the smart home."
The space is more than just a place for Josh.ai employees to work. It also allows them to experience the technology that Josh.ai is being used to control and figure out ways to make the overall system do even better at anticipating needs and creating comfort.
"Somfy's very strong in the commercial application world, so being able to have this solution in the josh office, it's a perfect setting for not just us, but to have this experience center where we can invite integrators into the office and demonstrate how this works," said Oswald. "Have them use their voice to open and close the shading. Maybe host trainings and talk about the importance of automation, and energy savings."
To hear their full conversation about this project and home intelligence, visit the podcast episode page or subscribe to Draper@Home on your favorite podcasting app. You can also watch a short video below.