Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance and TechRepublic’s Dan Patterson discussed smart home and smart office technology trends in early 2018. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Dan Patterson: Mitchell Klein, you are the executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance. Let’s talk a little bit about smart home and smart office technology trends. Of course, last year we saw the consumerization of smart home and IoT devices like Amazon’s Alexa. What’s coming next for the smart office?

Mitchell Klein: Wow. Well, actually we’re going start seeing a lot more of the voice as much as Amazon has had a big lead on it. Let’s not rule out others like what Microsoft is doing with Cortana. You might not think they’re in the game, but they sure as heck are. I think voice obviously is going extend itself much deeper into it, but I think we’re going start seeing a lot more AI, which to me is very interesting, because we work a lot on the consumer side with the smart home and there’s a lot of challenges just in getting the devices connected. When we in the industry start talking about AI, that’s way out there. Artificial intelligence, which is going to take things from being connected and move it into actually being smart, and I think that’s really not just a trend, but it’s pretty much a given that it’s going happen.

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Dan Patterson: What devices can we expect to see in the smart office? Obviously connected things like printers, monitors, that kind of thing. What other technologies can we expect to see in the smart office?

Mitchell Klein: The most obvious one here is really about lighting. Lighting has been proven over and over again to have a dramatic impact on productivity and so we’re starting to see a lot more of this tuneable white light or tuneable lighting, which tends to tie in with the circadian rhythms, that, of course, there’s a lot being talked about, in terms of you’ve seen it with smart phones, where as you get into the evening, the bright blue or white light from your phones is becoming a bit more sunset, an orange. Lighting is really huge, and again, that’s going be more on an AI side so that you come back from lunch, and it’s going to bring you right back into the swing of things, instead of having you fall asleep with the lighting. Anyway, that’s a really big piece of it.

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Obviously security is another piece we’re going start seeing whereby you won’t necessarily have to be logging into computers or unlocking doors, because it’s going know who you are. You’re going have … whether it be in your phone or other GPS technologies, that’s going enable you to access your devices without actually having to go in and log in or pull a key out of even a key fob. We’ll start seeing a lot more of that, too.