What’s next beyond voice assistants and smart appliances?

29 May 2019

We were recently asked:

The Internet of Things continues to expand, from voice assistants to smart appliances. What in your opinion is the next big thing in home IoT tech, and why?

Here was our reply:

Product innovations are enabled by innovations in the underlying technology. For instance, high-speed WiFi-enabled smart TVs and video streaming; advances in AI and speech recognition made it possible to create voice assistants.

Thus, to predict the next innovation, one needs to understand the shifts in the underlying technologies. The next major technology innovation is wireless power, providing over-the-air energy delivery to IoT and smart appliances.

Today, IoT manufacturers face a choice between batteries and power cords. Batteries provide limited energy and need to be replaced often. Power cords provide plenty of energy but tether the devices to an electrical outlet. Wireless power has the potential of providing the best of both worlds: much more energy than a battery, yet much more portable than a power cord.

As a result, we will see two directions in innovation: portable devices that can do much more than before because they have more energy, and devices with rich feature sets that were previously tethered but no longer need to be.

Some examples: IP security cameras, smart locks and smart speakers.

Additionally, the availability of plentiful and safe over-the-air power means that charging of devices no longer needs to happen at designated charging spots but can be anywhere in the home.


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