Bringing the future into the homes of today

In 2022, 37.6 per cent of Australian households will be completely automated through the use of smart home technologies. By 2020, the global smart home market is forecast to reach a value of more than $50 billion.

This is going to dramatically change the consumer’s relationship with technology in a way that has only been seen in science fiction. Steven Baxt, founder of Smart Mirrors and creator of the Embrace Smart Mirror, is at the forefront of this change―Embrace is the world’s first full-featured Android smart mirror that enables smart home automation.

Home automation has already been in use for decades in its most basic form. For example, programming a microwave for a set amount of time or opening an automated garage with a remote control. The smart home of the future will be much more advanced with a seamless integration of various smart devices and appliances. The more affordable network-connected smart devices become, the closer we get to the reality of the house of the future.

Today the smart home can be controlled through network-connected devices like a smart phone. However, it’s a tedious process involving several steps such as connecting the phone to the right network and launching the corresponding app just to turn on a fan. Realistically, it would be quicker to turn the fan on with the flick of a switch. That’s where Embrace comes in.

Acting as the digital hub of the home and hung on the wall like a mirror, Embrace is available and ready to accept commands at any time. It’s controlled by touch, gestures and voice. The best aspect of Embrace is that it is a seamless integration with the home and looks just like any other mirror when not in use.

With Embrace, you can use a simple voice command and touch to fill a bathroom with music and take a Skype video call hands-free at the drop of a hat. Meetings can be scheduled and synchronised throughout all devices with Google calendar. While in the bathroom, a smart plug connected to an electric kettle in the kitchen can be turned on through Wi-Fi and an app so the water is boiled and ready before your shower is even finished.

Walk down the hallway past another Embrace Smart Mirror and the screen will flash to life automatically and display unread emails along with the latest news headlines. Alerts from security cameras can appear if motion is detected and automatically record video, whether it’s the cat or the neighbours. One tap on the mirror can mean lights in the main areas turn on to preferred colour and brightness levels.

Movie nights will never be the same with every control at your fingertips. Embrace can stream movies from countless apps and connect to the living room TV through Chromecast. With a few taps, the movie environment is perfected with automatic block-out blinds closing and the overhead lights dimming and changing their colour to golden amber.

“Many people don’t realise that the House of the Future is already a reality,” says Steven Baxt, founder of Smart Mirrors. “The future is being shaped by parallel developments from every high tech industry, such as communication, computing and equipment manufacturing. The world is rapidly embracing new technologies so we can live longer, smarter and save time and money. Technology makes many tasks easier and things that were previously impossible, possible.”

In the future, almost every gadget, appliance or device requiring power―even mechanical inventions like a door lock―will be network-connected. As advances are made in machine learning and artificial intelligence, today’s disjointed software applications running different inventions will be able to interoperate in a way never seen before.

In the future, smart computing devices will become more intuitive. Smart devices like Embrace are a result of merging an everyday object or item with technology to make it network-connected and multi-purpose, providing more control, information, tools and added security, as well as entertainment. This has the potential to free people from the stress and pressure that traditional access to communication devices have caused in the past.