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Lightwave Labs: What is Futureproofing and Why is it Important?

24 February 2022 | Greig Silvester

Technology advances quickly, and sometimes it’s hard to keep pace with innovation. Here in the UK, the average consumer upgrades their mobile phone every 2½ years and according to Michael Gartenburg from Gartner research “meaningful changes in gadget technology tend to happen every three to four years.” 

Futureproofing in technology is when a product or system has been designed to defy obsolescence for as long as possible. Utilising sustainable technology and reducing the environmental impact has become increasingly important to us, and extending the lifespan of tech products to ensure they are futureproof helps to achieve this while allowing consumers to extract more value from the products they spend good money on.

What does this mean for smart homes?

We’ve become used to frequently upgrading devices like tablets, laptops, headphones, and even televisions, but what about the technology that we install and integrate into our homes? Sure, there are plenty of ‘plug & play’ smart home gadgets like plug-in sockets and smart bulbs that can be swapped out quickly, but they don’t represent sustainable technology or an integrated solution for your home. Also, this type of approach leads to loads of connected devices, but not necessarily a ‘smart’ home.

Another consideration when looking to future proof within the smart home sector is competing wireless protocols (a fancy word for the language that smart devices use to communicate with one another). Over the last 20 years, Lightwave’s founder, John Shermer has seen many changes in the wide world of wireless. While some protocols have managed to establish themselves (Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, etc), the smart home market is as fragmented now as it has ever been.

A case study in futureproofing: The Link Plus

The Link Plus is the project manager of any Lightwave system. It controls and manages all of the wireless commands and server integrations, allowing for control of the Lightwave system through voice and app. Essentially, it’s the brains of the operation. While developing the Link Plus, Lightwave’s team of engineers spent a lot of time planning for the future. 

Since the hub was launched in 2017, it has supported and facilitated the addition of many significant new features to the Smart Series range. This includes energy monitoring, push notifications, and vast improvements to auto-calibration – not to mention countless tweaks and improvements to automations and the app’s user interface. 

The really impressive part is that the Link Plus is approaching it’s 5th birthday, and it still has not reached its full potential, with more new system features in development. That sort of longevity is a rarity these days!

Future ideas for futureproofing

It’s hard to say exactly what smart home will become in the next decade and, with broad industry support for the ‘Matter’ protocol to be launched in 202020212022, there is a glimmer of excitement around an actual universal smart home standard. For now, Lightwave will reserve judgement until the performance of Matter can be tested against the overwhelming and practical benefits of 868MHz protocols.

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