How AI is transforming the smart home business

Artificial intelligence has been at the heart of smart home technology since around 2010 when thermostat makers Nest and ecobee developed learning thermostats that made “decisions” on timing and temperature based on data collected from actual usage in the home. Many smart home products have followed, including doorbell cameras that distinguish between packages and faces, and between familiar faces and strangers’ faces.

Video analytics are a form of AI that help monitoring companies determine if an alarm event is false, or highly likely to be an actual emergency. For example, when AI is combined with data from a motion sensor placed in a senior’s home or apartment, it can alert caregivers when the activities of a senior deviate from normal, and indicate a potential change in health.

Many of these AI-based applications are credited for increasing consumer uptake and interest in smart home products, as they are providing very clear benefits at very attractive prices. Lesser-known applications of AI in the smart home are the use of AI by companies such as internet service providers (ISPs) and home security companies to reduce subscriber attrition. Ayla Networks, a provider of AI products to the consumer electronics and internet service provider industries, provides intelligence that “flags” customers that are experiencing service problems in order to take fast action – potentially rebooting premise equipment or initiating a scan on connected devices, eliminating the need for a service truck to visit the home.

Home security maker also uses AI in predictive ways to safeguard its business. Thanks to AI, the firm can determine which of its subscribers are likely to attrit. Its AI-powered engine notifies its network of security dealers when a customer exhibits tendencies that may lead to cancellation, giving dealers suggestions on how to connect with customers and increase their level of engagement.

“By providing benefits to consumers, manufacturers, and their channel partners, AI has been instrumental to the growth of the smart home industry,” said Interpret Senior Vice President Stuart Sikes. “In the case of manufacturers, AI is not replacing human interaction with the customer, but is identifying the customers who will benefit the most from interaction with dealers and customer service reps.”

The impact of AI on the smart home industry is explored in Interpret’s trends report, titled Smart Home 3.0 and AI.

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