Are Your Homes Ready To Be Connected

Imagine standing at the door to your home – you look into an iris scanner, then place a finger on a fingerprint scanner. The door unlocks and you walk into a comforting and familiar space.

The lights turn on as you enter the hallway, and the air-conditioning comes alive as it adjusts to the ambient temperature and your preference

You walk into your bedroom to change out of your work clothes. The laundry basket is full, so you bring it to the washing machine to start a cycle. As you take a chicken out of the fridge to cook for dinner, the screen on the fridge door shows that you are running low on milk and offers a coupon for milk from the nearby supermarket.

You decide to have dinner while catching up on your favourite TV series. You missed last week’s episode, but the TV recognised your watching habits and automatically recorded the missed episode. Your smartphone goes off halfway into the show, it’s your washing machine reminding you that your laundry is washed and dried.

Sandy Sun – Vice President & General Manager for Asia-Pacific and China sales, Seagate Technology

Sounds like a home that only exists in Sci-Fi shows or movies? The truth is that all this technology exists today, and you may be using some of it right now.

The idea of a smart or connected home has come a long way since Bill Gates built what was considered the “Home of the Future” in the early 90s. For the everyday consumer, the dream of a technologically-advanced home may have never vanished, but there is certainly a palpable revival in the technology industry today to fully realise that dream. And it is all thanks to the Internet of Things. You will find the number of smart home products is rapidly growing. From lighting, thermostats, refrigerators, to rice cookers and more, there are tons of products that enable you to control your home through mobile devices and apps.

A survey by Fortinet found that 66% of homeowners in Asia Pacific believe that the connected home is “extremely likely” to become a reality in the next five years. Gartner predicts that the number of smart connected homes is expected to grow from between 100-200 million homes now to between 500-700 million homes by 2020.

In fact, IDC predicts that the IoT market will more than double in size by 2020 and expects Asia Pacific to be a major driver of that growth. Their report also predicts that the number of connected “things” will increase from 3.1 billion to 8.6 billion in the same period.

But what does this all really mean for your home? It means that all these “things” will now be producing data. Data that you will need to store somewhere, to be used as and when you need it.

In 2014, the average household created about 2TB of data per year. By 2020, this is expected to grow to 10TB.

Take home monitoring or surveillance cameras for example, one of the most common and usually the first “smart” device that homeowners purchase. Most cameras available in the market today are capable of capturing surveillance footage in 720p, which will fill up a 1TB drive in approximately just one week.

In tomorrow’s connected home, a multitude of everyday objects will have unique digital footprints, and will possess the ability to automatically create, send and receive data. All this data needs to be housed in order to enable the analysis and use by either humans or machines. It is evident that the need for more data storage will grow as more and more “things” come into the home.

Regardless of whether all this data is being produced by IoT devices or if it is just your repository of videos, music and documents, cloud services can be a great resource. This is especially true when you’re sharing stuff publicly, and cloud services can even help you back up some of your content in a pinch.

At the same time, as appliances, wearables and other IoT devices become more ingrained in our lives, users need to be more aware of the data that is being sent out of the home. A more private type of cloud such as a network-attached storage (NAS) device-based cloud, can be an alternative solution to centralise, personalise, secure, and sync your data so it will be available to you whenever you need it.

From sensors that monitor home access and security and fire detection, to sensors that monitor environmental conditions and energy consumption, to a variety of other network-connected monitoring applications, it becomes easy to see how the proliferation of “things” will continue, as will the need for smarter connected home systems, and more storage in support of all the resulting machine-to-machine data transactions.

By Sandy Sun – Vice President & General Manager for Asia-Pacific and China sales, Seagate Technology

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