'Create your own smart home step by step'

An interview with Isabella, our CEO, about smart homes

21 September 2018

The term smart home is becoming increasingly well-known: more and more people are replacing their old appliances with smart variants. This development is going at a rapid pace, but will all homes become smart in the future? In this interview, Isabella Namèche, CEO at 50five, explains what the real value of smart devices is and what role they will play in our daily lives.

What are we talking about when we talk about the smart home?

“The smart home is a house that is equipped with smart devices that make our lives easier, more fun and better. The term smart is therefore mainly about what you can do with it, rather than about the house itself. In a smart home, the devices are connected to the Internet, have a certain form of intelligence and many actions are automated. The devices themselves will automatically choose the right settings in terms of efficiency and comfort.”

What are the latest developments in this area?

“The smart speakers will play a central role in the smart home. We see that in North America and Great Britain these smart speakers are already very popular and are mainly used to control smart devices with your voice.”

What is the impact of this technological progress on the family? Should we not be afraid that these new technologies will create an even greater gap between generations?

"No, I don't think so. This technological progress is meant to make life easier and more secure. A few years ago you needed, so to speak, high technical skills to install home automation products. Nowadays, these devices are much simpler to install and to use. The devices can be used by every family member, which has a positive effect. So, they create a bridge rather than a gap between family members.”

Isabella Nameche

Will these technologies bring family members closer together?

“The promise of smart devices is also that you automate manual tasks and have more time for other things, such as spending time with your family. We also get more ways to communicate with each other and bring us closer together. For example, if you want to communicate with a family member who is at work and you can’t find your phone, you can ring the smart video doorbell to get in touch with each other. I read about a while ago that a child called her father at work with a video doorbell and it's a nice example of how people find new ways to use technology to connect to each other.”

Is it a good idea to leave this kind of technology in the hands of children and adolescents? Isn't that a safety problem?

“Technology is like swimming, cycling and driving a car. There are many dangers, but you can learn to handle them safely. That's the same with smart home solutions. Children already learn how to use technology when they’re young. You only have to protect them from misuse and dangers such as data theft or privacy issues. You can prevent many of these problems with high-quality devices and the right network security.”

Should we expect problems with this technology in family homes?

"No. Of course, it's about how you use it, but if that's correct, I don't foresee any problems.”

What about the price of these technologies? Are they affordable?

“More smart products enter the market and those products are becoming more affordable. It's still a big expense if you want to make your house completely smart right away, but that's not necessary of course. You can expand your smart home step by step. Begin with a starter kit of smart lamps or a smart thermostat, for example. Make sure you choose a platform that supports many devices, so you can easily add more smart devices to your smart home.”

What are the essential connected devices you need to have in a family home and why is that?

“That really depends on the need and the situation. If you don't feel safe, there are several smart security cameras to make you feel safer. If you want to save on energy consumption, I recommend a smart thermostat to get more insight of your consumption. In fact, there is a smart solution for every problem in your home. And if you want a truly connected smart home, I recommend the smart speaker.”

What technological progress can we expect in this sector upcoming years?

"The medical application of smart devices has a lot of potential. There are several trackers on the market that measure your sleep or blood pressure, but that is only the beginning. We are all getting older and living longer at home, but that also has consequences because there is less supervision at home than in nursing homes. In the future, these smart devices in our smart home will be able to monitor much more and you can use them to live healthier and better.”

See more from Isabella about smart homes in the video below. This was recorded during her presentation at the Tweakers Meet-Up in Belgium: