If this article is the first time you’ve heard the word domotics, you’re probably not alone.
Originating from the Latin word for home (domus), domotics is increasingly being used to describe smart home technology and web-enabled automation.
It’s a concept we’re already experiencing through virtual speakers and voice-controlled hardware. However, this is merely the tip of a transformative technological iceberg.
And while automation may eventually govern everything from vehicular travel to medical surgery, it’s our homes which are likely to see the greatest evolution.
No place like home
Remarkable as it sounds, the days of sockets, switches and standalone appliances are drawing to an end.
Future homes will feature a web of electronic devices wirelessly connected to each other over the internet.
Indeed, internet connectivity is the central nervous system for this interdependent structure, with artificial intelligence platforms like Amazon’s Alexa serving as the brain.
Today, typical extremities might include an app-controlled heating system, or a voice-controlled lamp.
Tomorrow, it could incorporate almost any electronic device, forming part of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) where the sum becomes greater than its parts.
And while gateway hubs like Alexa need to do much of the heavy lifting, it’s individual devices which are set to undergo the greatest transformation.
A glimpse of the smart home of 2040
Domotics began with convenience features like smart speakers capable of storing voice notes and controlling roller blinds, but it’ll end with whole-home integration.
You won’t need house keys anymore, because your autonomous vehicle will signal your arrival as it parks itself on the driveway.
The front door will automatically swing open as you approach, while internal lights and heating come on to pre-programmed preferences unless verbally over-ridden.
A foldable 8K screen will extend into position when it senses you in the room, while the smart oven ensures each element of your dinner is perfectly cooked at an appointed moment.
In the bedroom, skin temperature sensors will adjust ambient heating, while trackers in your mattress monitor sleep quality to determine which aromatherapy oils to wake you up with.
Overall aims of all this include greater convenience, practicality and luxury.
Fringe benefits include superior energy efficiency, increased support for people with disabilities, and automatic fault identification/repair.
A little bit of history repeating
Although the IoT is relatively modern, IBM was developing self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology (note the clever acronym) decades ago.
There have been numerous isolated examples of one electronic device communicating with another, like the Sky Gnome that broadcast satellite TV audio wirelessly around Millennial homes.
The big difference today is that entire networks of devices can communicate on equal terms, rather than the master-and-slave relationship typified by smartphones and Bluetooth accessories.
Any IoT device should be able to communicate with any other device on the same network, thanks to unified connectivity standards and master controllers which are always within earshot.