As we begin 2014 and continue into the next several years, more people will be moving toward smart home technologies leading to more connected homes. Two devices that came out at the end of 2013 contribute to this movement: the Xbox One and the PS4. Whether you prefer the Xbox or the PS4, both offer new technological advances that will help your home become more connected.

The devices are similar, but differ somewhat when it comes to their target markets. The PS4 is geared more toward hardcore gamers while the Xbox One targets more than just gamers. With the Xbox One, you will get a gaming device as well as a device to serve as the entertainment center for the house.

Xbox One

In the Xbox One, you will find an all-in-one entertainment system with various features like browsing the web or watching a video. Imagine this: You wave your hands to swipe through pages of app icons instead of having to push a button. You can punch the screen with your fist to zoom in or out of a web page. With the Xbox One, this is all possible. You have the option of pressing buttons or using gestures and voice commands to do things. The Xbox 360 only used Kinect minimally, but Kinect is everywhere with Xbox One. You can say certain commands like “Xbox, record that, do that, etc.” and it will do it as long as it is the proper command and it works. Unfortunately, Kinect doesn’t always work, but hopefully it will get better in the next model.

Besides the different commands, Xbox One has integration with your television. You can watch television while you play games, watch Hulu and Netflix, and receive Skype notifications all in this device. The Xbox features the OneGuide, which is a TV guide where users can add channels to their favorites and include app channels. With any new device, there will be a learning curve and you’ll have to learn the different commands and how they work. Besides the general entertainment component of the Xbox One, it’s still a video game console. With the Xbox One, you’ll get a cool feature where you can record fifteen seconds of your game and then go to Upload Studio to edit and add filters. The clip can be uploaded to Skydrive and be used anywhere afterward. The Xbox One is definitely a step in the direction toward a more connected home and helps you feel more comfortable with using gestures and voice commands to do certain things.


With its latest product, Sony has made significant improvements to the PS4’s controller and menus in addition to adding new features. With the PS4, gamers will be able to take advantage of new features on the controller such as a speaker and touchpad and a battery life that lasts around four to six hours. In addition, the controller is thinner and more comfortable than the previous controller for the PS3. The PS4 also allows for social sharing where you can take screenshots and share via Facebook and Twitter.

Furthermore, the PS4 has a simpler, more intuitive design that makes it easier to navigate from games to other content. Gamers will appreciate being able to switch quickly between games, apps, and other features. Sony also gives the ability to pair the PS4 with the handheld PlayStation Vita to be used as a second screen or for Remote Play. Once paired, you can control the console with Vita and play games. Like the Xbox One, the PS4 has apps such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and a web browser. The difference is that the PS4 is still more targeted for gamers while the Xbox One can lure in casual consumers.

The Future

As you can see, the PS4 and Xbox One are just glimpses of what the future holds with smart home technology. Imagine being able to walk into your home and having everything set to your preferences. For example, you could come home and your smart home would know that it was you and not an intruder. The house would automatically have settings that are adjusted to your particular preferences making tasks more efficient. Your garage door would automatically open once you pull up on the driveway and you wouldn't have to fiddle around trying to find the garage door opener. The temperature would be adjusted for you and other appliances like your oven could turn on so that you wouldn't have to wait as long to preheat the oven for your dinner that night. The television would also be set to the correct channel right when you walk into the house. When your spouse walks into a certain room, the house could adjust to his or her preferences in that room as well. Your future smart home will be able to adjust its settings and be contextually aware to different people and situations. Imagine the possibilities!

Whether you decide to get the Xbox One or the PS4, you’ll be getting a device that will lead to more smart and connected homes. Do you have a PS4 or Xbox One?

Want to learn more about smart home technologies? Check out Juston Western’s presentation from TechStreet here.