Smart homes are getting smarter all the time but as always with tech, as soon as we get one wish granted (“why can’t I just talk to my light bulbs to turn them on?”) we start wishing for something even better. Here are five things that could make smart homes even smarter.

  1. Even more cross-compatibility. Smart home platforms have made great strides; you can have Philips and LifX bulbs in the same house, all controlled with your Amazon Echo. But that last one is the new sticking point–the voice platforms make you choose, unless you’re talking about Cortana.
  2. More visual smarts. The complexity of voice recognition makes telling my house to unlock a door or turn on a light possible. Imagine what it can do if it’s seeing what’s happening in your home as well.
  3. Security. Another one that’s gotten better, but IoT devices are a byword for network weakness and that needs to change. Your smart bulb should not also be how attackers stole your credit cards.
  4. Active engagement. Sitting down on the couch and looking at the TV could prompt the TV to turn on. It will take some machine learning to recognize what you’re doing, and be able to use that to trigger activities.
  5. Predictions. This is the holy grail of smart home developers–being able to tell what you want before you want it. So, not only turning on the lights as you walk down the hall but also warming the floor in your bathroom, or not just turning on the TV, but taking you to the show you want to watch.

Usual caveats of privacy and data protection apply of course, but these are all probabilities in machine learning that, combined with improving sensors and processors, could become normal features in the future.

Subscribe to TechRepublic Top 5 on YouTube for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Tom Merritt.

Image: NicoElNino/Getty Images/iStockphoto