In 2023, Home Tech Will Get Even Smarter

Refined voice activation, more VR and better home security are just a few highlights of what's to come

n 2023, home tech will recede further into the background-even as it takes more control of our daily lives. But humans will still have a voice, literally, in how machines run.

Voice activation will become even more pervasive and much smarter, with devices asking exactly what we mean. Meanwhile, so-called ambient computing, powered by artificial intelligence, will help our appliances and other tech run better with "over-the-air" maintenance-think automatic phone or Windows updates on a giant scale.

On the home-security front, look for smaller, smarter systems that enlist robots and drones to protect you. And home entertainment will take on new dimensions as VR, short for virtual reality, and AR, or augmented reality, become less expensive and more accessible. 

Speak Up: Voice Activation Goes Mainstream

Don't push my buttons. That's the message from a growing number of devices, appliances, and technology around the home as voice technology becomes standard. Maybe you've used Alexa to identify a song or find a restaurant, but get ready to similarly start your dryer, arm your alarm system or fire up your furnace with a few words to your device of choice. On the road, 2023 Toyota and Lexus vehicles will now come equipped with Google Cloud, allowing natural voice commands and access to information even if you're driving out of normal connection range.

Some researchers even predict we'll be having conversations with our smart devices, as our one-line queries prompt AI-fueled responses intended to refine searches and commands. Voice activation will also advance to start recognizing individual voices-and tailoring responses and even voice tones to the user. Of course, all of this means sharing even more personal data with Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, Samsung's Bixby, or whoever's cloud contains the artificial intelligence behind your speaker. So watch your language.

Immerse Yourself in Entertainment

Two-dimensional entertainment is so 2022. Devices like virtual-reality headsets will become more affordable next year, experts predict, and the range of immersive entertainment options should mushroom. Deloitte Global has predicted that the virtual reality (VR) market will generate $7 billion in revenue globally in 2023, an impressive 50% increase over 2022's $4.7 billion.

Even though Meta's Oculus 2 controls 90% of the VR market, research company IDC said next-gen headsets from Pico and Sony are expected to launch alongside with a headset from Apple that is expected to provide a mixed-reality experience. Deloitte predicted 2023's headsets should offer higher frame rates, higher-resolution displays, and enhanced spatial audio, all of which help create more realistic immersive experiences. Along with gaming, experts see expanding VR applications in the home, including telecom, media, in-home shopping, and even culinary experiences.

Home Security Grows by Shrinking

Wiring. Keypads. Installations. Sensors. Home security systems used to take up a lot of space and, often, too much time to manage. Now, Wi-Fi-enabled home alarm systems like Ring, Alexa-enabled camera-alarm hybrid Abode, and monitoring-optional solution SimpliSafe offer protection at a fraction of the cost of old-school home alarms. The next generation of home security looks even more alarming-for bad guys, that is. Amazon's Astro robot will soon include home monitoring among its voice-enabled tasks. And Ring is releasing its drone-like Always Home Cam-a "flying camera" that lets you check in on a room-or zoom it over to a space where an alarm's been triggered.

Ambient Computing: You're Surrounded

You may not have noticed, but your smart home's making more decisions without you-at least that's the aim with ambient computing, the term for "invisible" computing, powered by AI. The so-called Internet of Things has been the most-hyped example of ambient computing, but 2023 might finally be the year it takes off.

Examples: Metaverse "digital twins" that collect real-time data on physical devices in the home, enabling maintenance and security; broader smart-home networks, whose devices communicate with each other, even across brands and platforms; "over-the-air" appliance updates; and machine learning, where your appliances and devices recognize your usage patterns to establish settings automatically.

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