You can be forgiven for feeling a little like James Bond when you can heat your hot tub or set your fireplace ablaze at the touch of a button, but ‘Smart Home’ technology is fast becoming an integral part of the 21st Century home.
In fact, by 2018, there will be 50 million “smart homes and buildings” according to global technology research firm ON World. Not only are home devices such as lighting,music, TV and temperature control greatly improved, everything can be controlled from your smart phone or tablet.
So what are the features we can expect from a “Smart Home”? Firstly, on a practical level, smart technology means watertight security for your home. As you leave for work, one push of a button can lock doors, arm the security system, turn off lights, power down devices and adjust temperature to “away” mode. Your home and your peace of mind are secured with one touch.
Upon your return, locks are opened with individual codes instead of fumbling for keys. Separate codes issued to children, staff or others mean that you can receive a message to tell you who is home – so, for example, you can tell if children are back safe from school while you are still working.
For long stints away, set up a ‘mockupancy program’ – interior lights turn on in patterns, fooling any would-be intruders into thinking your house is occupied. And if you’re particularly concerned about specific areas such as a medicine cabinet, a safe or gun storage – vibration sensors inform you when the area has been accessed.
Other sensors monitor temperature and moisture levels, alerting you be email or text if a boiler fails or if there’s leaking water that could damage your home. But it’s the improvements in your home comfort where smart technology really gets a chance to shine.
Music, TV and lighting become one streamlined fabulous feature under the control of Smart Home technology – access your entire iTunes library from any room – pop for the kids bedrooms, radio news in the study and a relaxing soundtrack in the kitchen. Stream Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, Napstar, TuneIn and others to access on-demand music from just anywhere.
Injecting Smart Home technology into your video systems first of all simplifies everything – one universal remote truly will manage all. Different movies can show in different rooms, and when you’re settling in for the cinema experience, one touch closes the blinds, dims the lights and sets the perfect temperature.
Smart Home climate control means that half an hour before you wake, your home will slowly heat up, the lights gradually brighten and the shades open, easing you into your day. Intelligent climate control – with different modes for night, weekends and holidays – also mean you never burn energy that’s not needed.
Bespoke property developers Searchfield Homes, who specialise in luxury builds in the outskirts of London, have harnessed smart technology into their homes with great success.
Andrew Searchfield, owner of Searchfield Homes said:
“We have used Control 4 technology in our builds for the last five years. People are used to their world being controlled by their mobile phone and this goes for their homes too, so it’s a hugely popular feature.”
“We find that all generations of a family now use smartphones, and with the whole focus being on ‘user-friendly’ smart home technology has been adapted very readily, Lighting, music and movie control are the most popular features, but being able to check and control your home security from anywhere, even overseas, is also of course a huge benefit for people who travel internationally.”