Smart Home Jargon: What is Intelligent Living?

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The idea of intelligent living has been growing in popularity and prominence over the last year or so, but it’s mostly still being used by experts and brands themselves. While consumers are focused on “Smart”, the industry is ready to push on – as technology is wont to do. However, Smart and Intelligent are very clearly synonyms, which makes it all the more difficult to succinctly explain the difference. 

So today, we’re going to be breaking down “Intelligent Living”, and what it means in the world of smart home and connected technology.


Smart vs. Intelligent

The easiest way to think about Smart vs. Intelligent is that they’re different generations of connected living technology.

“Smart” is this first generation of connected living: smart speakers, smart bulbs, smart plugs. In most of these cases, smart is another way of saying that you can control these devices with your phone – and therefore remotely – or with your voice. 

Smart devices are a great introduction to the world of connected living. You can set up routines and automations that really show off what makes Smart Homes so exciting, but you still have to manually set up and run all of your routines yourself.

“Intelligent” devices are more like the generation 2 of connected living, but even this is something that’s in dispute. Some think that a device needs to be intelligent in order for it to be called smart – but it’s easier to think of them as two different things. 

Intelligent devices take automations a step further and act independently to you. You might set some parameters like what you want your lighting to be like in an evening, or what your perfect house temperature is, but your device will set your heating and turn your lights on when you walk into a room without you consciously triggering the automation. 


Why is Intelligence Important?

Now we know the difference between the two, we still need to understand why it’s important that we have this distinction. Make no mistake, this is a significant split; and it can also help us to project where the industry is headed.

As the first generation of connected living, Smart devices tend to be gadgets. Most users don’t make the most of the features available to them, and many will end up in a drawer somewhere after a while. 

Intelligent devices, on the other hand, are a much more involved install. They often involve sensors and replacements for your current home tech, rather than less permanent add-ons to your existing system. This means that they often have a longevity we wouldn’t expect from specifically Smart devices, which matches their more advanced capabilities. They mark the shift to what we can informally call the sci-fi era of technology, by which I mean our homes and what they can do look more and more like something you’d see in a movie.

The best part is, we still have a long way to go in terms of what smart home and connected living technology can deliver. Not only is there the convenience for day-to-day activity, but there’s also a lot to be said for ideas like The Caring Home and greater support for assisted living. Intelligence is an important milestone because it’s the shift from gadgets to a system that makes your home life easier and more comfortable.