Smart home automation has been gathering real speed the past few years. Although this automated service has been around for a lot longer than most people think, it is only in the last couple of years where products have been creeping into the commercial consumer bullpit. With the help of newspapers, magazines, online blogs and on occasion physical stock in electrical stores, somewhat of a smart home buzz has been created.
There is a handful of leading names within the smart home automation market. These pioneers are battling it out to try to provide all walks of life with accessible products for the home. Even the most stout of traditionalists are rearing their heads, maybe not with the view to buy but certainly pondering with intrigue. And why not, the opportunity to control your most important household appliances via a smartphone app or remote control is an attractive proposal.
Although developers will tell us that we are only at the beginning of the smart home revolution the choice to buy such intelligent accessories is still an excitable feat. As it stands anyone can integrate smart systems into their home, all you need is a bit of money and the willingness to uphaul your existing components.
So What Can You Control?
Smart home lighting products enable the user further control over their lighting. From the comfort of the sofa or the warmness of the bed, you can switch on, switch off or dim your lighting using your smartphone app or remote control. This action will have a direct and instant effect there and then or alternatively can be carefully scheduled for future routines. Multiple circuits or ‘scenes’ can be controlled with just a one button press, with the additional option to personalise and automate whenever necessary. It works just like you’d use any ordinary switch or socket, many come with LED indicators displaying whether the system is turned on or not.
Smart home heating products are similar to lighting. These devices allow users to activate, turn up or reduce the heat supplied via household heating systems. This is a particularly desirable feature for winter periods, giving owners the opportunity to switch on their heating before they get home from work or the school run. Many smart home apps allow you to delegate what time, what area and what heat you’d like to submit on a daily or weekly basis. Once your schedule is all setup you can go along with your daily business knowing your heating will automatically dance to your preplanned tune.
Working on the same premise as heating but for the summer months. Smart home ventilation will see air conditioning and fan systems activate whenever you want. You can schedule the times and dates of when you want your most important cooling systems to start up as well as customising the airflow speed to increase or reduce the strength of air power emitted.
Already Developed / In The Pipeline
Beds – Will allow you to adjust the firmness or softness of your mattress, as well as monitor your breathing, heart rate and movement whilst you sleep.
Humidity Detectors – These will sense irregular humidity levels in the atmosphere and combat accumulating mould by interacting with already installed ventilation fans and humidifiers.
Water Leakage Alerts – Afraid you are losing precious water without realising? These devices can be applied to locations where water is ever present such as baths, sinks and toilets. When any rogue drops fall a message will be sent to a central hub declaring that there’s a potential leak.
Cooking – Forgot to turn the slow cooker on? Want to turn up the heat but can’t be bothered to walk to the kitchen again? Cooking appliances are already able to and will no doubt continue to allow their cooks prepare for dinner or edit oven temperatures by using smartphone apps or remote controls.
Energy Monitors – These are for those who regard keeping track of their energy consumption an important assessment. They share the ability to monitor, collect and express the amount of energy you are using straight to your smartphone.
The Distant Future?
Some of the advancements predicted in the future of smart home technology is nothing short of unfathomable. It’s literally like something out of a 2060 James Bond movie. On the grand scale there is already a developing scheme with film solar technology, this has the foresight for future homes to apply every window with film solar technology; transforming the building into a standalone power generator.
Power grids have also been muttered, giving homes on the grids the ability to supply energy throughout buildings which are yet to make the transition. All of these potential future changes will see the reliance on foreign energy sources decreasing as energy independence enters a new age.
Home entertainment will become an overwhelming mix of augmented, virtual and mediated reality, with television and film delivering interactive services far beyond our existing imagination. Although the technology will transform it doesn’t mean the greed and selfishness of human nature will change with it, we will still have to be vigilant for prying eyes looking steal your latest hologram device. So with this comes reassuring home security products, move over building access voice recognition because an extremely clever face recognition will be in the offing. This will host software which can instantly detect whether the person at the door is a friend or a foe. If they are a foe the system will automatically communicate with the police and the deployment of officers will be ensue.
Whether or not these potential property improvements will enter our homes and flourish is currently unknown. However there is no reason why we can’t fantasise over some of these cutting edge ideas. What we have now is just the tip of the iceberg, and with experts claiming that by 2020 most modern homes will have at least one smart home product running inside, the subject of smart home automation is sure to sustain its curious appeal.
Tom Bray currently works for a national electrical wholesalers – Direct Trade Supplies – and has been writing content for magazines and websites for the past five years.