A Decade On Are We Any Closer to the Integrated Smart Home?

Smart Home Utopia 2017

10 years ago this week I wrote this post on an imagined ‘X’ protocol that brought disparate systems together in a smart home utopia. However the last paragraph brought a frustrating conclusion to the piece…

After 10 years of writing about the “smart” home, isn’t it time the hardware manufacturers and software companies got together and sorted this whole integration standards thing out? We’re more than a decade into the widespread use of the internet. IP is the standard. Wifi is built into everything from watches to games consoles. There’s more computing power in my phone that on the Apollo rocket that first landed on the moon. Surely it’s not beyond the capability of man in the 21st century to sort out this mess. Isn’t it time your washing machine could talk “X”.

It’s doubly frustrating when you realise that another 10 years have passed and we’re still in the same nightmare. Despite dozens of new standards and attempts at a unifying protocol it seems we’re still no closer to making ‘X’ a reality.


Are there any positives at all we can take from recent advances in home tech? This part of my original post stuck out to me on re-reading last night…

Sonos and others will launch their X enabled firmware. Suddenly your house has a voice.

The recent launch of the Sonos One with it’s built in smart assistant perhaps hints at where ‘X’ may be coming from. Is it already here, quietly adding more and more capabilities each day?

The Cloud Controller

This takes me to the post I wrote in 2015 – Will The Cloud be the Integrator in the Sky to Save Home Automation? This time I concluded with the following…

In the end individuals will decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, if the added convenience compensates for the privacy and security concerns, if Home Automation ever gets to reach its true potential or remains a sideshow. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not, if I was a betting man I’d put my house on the future of home automation moving to the Cloud.

That post was pretty controversial, as you can tell from the comments below it. But I think it’s looking more and more accurate each day that passes.

I’m not saying an Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, smart home will be the best you can have, but with the resolute refusal from the industry to tackle its integration problem, I’m convinced it’s the one the masses will adopt.

4 Comments on "A Decade On Are We Any Closer to the Integrated Smart Home?"

  1. The problem with open standards are they are in conflict with many manufacturers wish to maximise profit.

    There are examples of standards that have created or enhanced a Market. TCP/IP is one example with GSM and following on from that 3G, 4G and now 5G. But these are initially driven by Governments.

    Of course there are also standards like HDMI which are manufacturer led but in such cases there is a clear market and an understanding that by working together they develop the potential market.

    With Home Automation we still see those companies that do get involved trying to lever propriety protocols and systems to maximise profit. They fear open standards would increase competition and reduce the potential profit.

  2. I’ve often quoted the HDMI example, it’s a good analogy

    I think it just shows the smart home industry is still immature, still trying to protect each little island rather than imagine the market it could be if it was integrated. It took a while for standards to prevail in the AV market. We still haven’t reached that point with the smart home industry.

  3. Open standards are feared by the weak companies and those that can’t or won’t see the future benefits. Always has been.

  4. Stuart Grimshaw | December 29, 2017 at 11:29 am |

    We’ve basically had 10 years of this: https://xkcd.com/927/

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