Here’s What Industry Insiders Are Saying About Automation

April 10, 2017

Telling Alexa or Google Home to switch off your lights or close the blinds is a lot of fun. But have you ever wondered who created all this cool stuff and what they have to say about the automation industry? It is an industry where change happens fast, and one of the only ways to keep up is by listening to what the automation industry insiders are saying.

Alex Hawkinson, Founder & CEO of SmartThings

Alex Hawkinson of SmartThings believes that in the near future we will connect everything to the internet. In a 2015 interview with Business Insider, Hawkins said that there are many immediate perks for having a connected home. He indicated that there are insurance companies that are toying with the idea of giving customers discounts if they install things like smart smoke detectors and flood sensors in their homes.

Hawkins pointed out that automation also helps save energy, which has a direct impact on global warming. He gave the example of intelligent lighting systems that can turn on, off, and go into low power mode automatically. Such systems help reduce carbon emissions and may undo some of the damage already done to the environment.

Jason Johnson, Founder & CEO of August Home

Jason Johnson indicated at CES 2017 that smart homes and smart locks are maturing as categories. He added that the developing of smart locks might have begun because of the smart cars. Smart cars do not need keys, and many people wanted the same key-less features for their homes.

According to Johnson, the smart lock industry is mainly populated by startup companies that started from scratch. It is much harder for traditional metal-lock manufacturers to get into the smart lock market. Johnson believes that it is not necessary for everything in the smart home to talk to each other. He gave the example of his smart lock not needing to talk with his smart refrigerator.

Johnson emphasized that having to pull your phone out of your pocket to load an app to unlock your door is not a good experience. According to him, the best way is to leave your smartphone in your pocket and walk up to your door, and the door unlocks or adds Alexa and Siri to the equation. To him, the best interface is no interface.

Johnson says that every night when he goes to bed he tells Alexa good night and she locks his doors, turns off all the lights in the house, and turns the heat down. He noted that apart from saving money and making your home safe, smart devices also are fun and “magical.”

Rhishi Chandra, Vice President of Product Management for Google Home

In a panel at CES 2017, Chandra indicated that he is also not a fan of having to use a phone to interact with things in your home. He believes that the Google Assistant will be present when you are at work, at school, and in your car. It will be part of your life, not a separate entity that is only limited to your smart home.

At an interview with Bloomberg in late 2016, he indicated that they would love to make Google Home work with more third-party smart devices. He indicated that the entry of Google into the Wi-Fi business was because they realized that the quality of the Wi-Fi signal is affected. A bad signal means a bad smart home experience. Google Wi-Fi helps to address those issues.

Mike George, Vice President of Alexa and Apps at Amazon

George also believes that the mobile phone as a portal to interacting with your connected home needs to go. While speaking at a tech event in January, he advocated for frictionless awe-inspiring experiences for smart home users. George looks at Alexa as a breakthrough in the automation industry because she (Alexa) creates that sense of magic in users.

George believes that difficulty of use and security are some of the main reasons consumers have been hesitant at adopting new technologies. He believes that despite this, the smart home is still going to become mainstream. He believes that making the process of acquiring and installing smart thermostats or smart lights more seamless will attract many customers who haven’t tried using smart devices.

All these automation industry insiders believe that the connected home is the future and that you will soon not have to use your smartphone to control your smart home. They all seem to be pinning a lot of hope on voice control. For more information about automation devices, check out our index of products today.

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