Just the Beginning
Smart home technology is the key to houses of the future. Today, we are seeing the beginning of movement that brings high profile solutions like solar generated electricity, smart appliances, artificial intelligence, smart security to bear on all new building in the UK.
With the positioning of the environment from a ‘nice to have’ to ‘if we don’t fix it we die’, smart home technology ticks many boxes. It’s energy efficient and in the case of electricity even generates surplus.
In the UK, with it’s long grey winters and short summers, energy efficiency is becoming more important by the day, especially when the price of gas is set to spiral.
Smart Homes have energy efficiency built in, from the use of solar panels to save electricity to. thermostatic taps in the bathrooms. It’s about keeping the heat in the house during the colder months and providing adequate ventilation in the summer.
For many years, solar power in the UK has been a bit of a standing joke. We have no sunshine. Seasonal affective disorder is a given! But recent advances in the technology mean that solar power produces more electricity for less sunshine. You can even sell it back to the electricity supplier! Future homes will have solar powered electricity as a standard.
Security is an evergreen topic that becomes more important as we gather more possessions and, whisper it quietly, become more elderly ourselves.
We have moved on from the days when security alarms erupted spontaneously into life at the slightest provocation. Today’s systems are super intelligent, differentiating between the movement of a human being and that of an inanimate object like a ballon blowing about in a draft. (Of course futuristic homes will have no drafts)
Today we can set locks automatically via our mobile phones, shut windows from the office and even monitor the dog on video. Tomorrow who knows? One thing is certain. Future homes will have smart security at their core.
For new builds in 2021, the most applicable installations are solar panels and solar hot water systems. Solar panel installations can be added to new builds without the expense of replacing traditional systems.
These systems enable contractors to meet current building regulations relating to energy usage for the property.
With gas prices set to exceed solar within twelve months we can expect government to support the construction of energy efficient. homes with more sensible incentives bringing the UK into line with its European counterparts.
Room by Room
We’re going to take you on a tour of your future home, room by room and take a look at the smart home devices that can make home life safer, energy. efficient and more convenient in the future. The kids will never leave home!
The hall has traditionally been the coldest and most unloved room in the house. In the past, central heating engineers often hardwired the thermostat into the hall in the belief that heating the coldest room led to a much warmer house. It did, but at great and unnecessary expense.
These days the thermostat is likely to be portable meaning that the heating can be dynamically optimised for the room you are in.
The front door will feature a smart lock. Set remotely these locks can be set to automatically lock after a given period of inactivity or locked via an app on your mobile phone. In the future it’s not difficult to see biometric locks recognising you when you approach the door with your bags of shopping. No more fumbling for keys!
Future kitchens will be a way away from the kitchen we know and love today. Imagine a fridge that can generate a shopping list or pull recipes from the internet based on the food you already have! The technology is already here and in production.
Your cooker will also be smart. It will monitor the heat on a boiling saucepan, preventing spills from unattended pans and overcooking. Your carrots will be forever crisp, your Broccoli will no longer melt in the mouth!
An image of the Sunday roast will be transmitted to your smart phone while you relax in the living room with a cheeky glass of Merlot.
The Living room is the heart of the home, especially now the kitchen is almost autonomous! This is where the home entertainment hub takes pride of place. With servers discretely hidden away in cupboards, your choice of music, film or video is made from your mobile phone or a dedicated controller.
Future homes will put quality time first. Elderly people will be able to choose their source of entertainment form a handheld device, maybe its a film, maybe it’s a video call with the family.
One thing is certain. Houses of the future will bring families together in ways that we’re not seeing today.
The bedroom hasn’t really changed that much since Victorian times, sure, the beds are longer and wider but the core function is still the same.
Homeowners will find life has become subtly better. Blinds will automatically close at sundown and open at theme you specify. Smart lighting will turn off when you’re ready for it to turn off. No more stubbing your toes on misplaced shoes as you stumble back to bed after realising the ceiling light was on!
Music is key to mood setting and bedrooms are one of the places where mood is all important! Your sound system will be programmable to feed music into any room in the house. Individually and collectively. A future where you can listen to your own music in your own room without being terrified by your teenager’s penchant for death metal!
If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown us it’s that home working is just as productive and considerably more healthy than working at the office.
Video calls, portable telephone numbers, fast internet and smart printers combine to ensure that you’re always available at no inconvenience to. your customers or team. And of course you can always set the system to “Lunch”! Your future home will double as an office enabling you to run your business for several days of the week without the commute.
The bathroom is another area of the house that has only seen superficial changes in the last hundred years. Today we have thermostatic taps that prevent the kids form scalding themselves in the shower.
Tomorrow, the bath can be filled at the touch of a screen. The aircon adjusted to filter away the steam. Future developments will see music added to the mix and steam rooms with a choice of essential oils adding the fragrance of a pine forest or an exotic island getaway to your perfect bath time.
Better yet, the Roomba will patrol the passageways moving abandoned lego bricks from your barefoot path. Pending a domestic ban on Lego, this is possible the most requested feature of the future home!
Smart lighting comes into its own in the garden. Whether it’s solar lights lighting the path from the driveway to the front door or responding to movement, the cat flap recognising your own pet’s microchip, or lighting sections of the garden for a summer BBQ.
Smart security comes into its own in the garden too. CCTV cameras casting to. your mobile phone mean that when a strange sound wakes you up in the middle of the night you can take a look at the footage from your infrared powered cameras. If your movement detecting light haven’t scanned the prowler away you can switch lights on in the house from the safety of your bed!
It goes without saying that your garage door will recognise your car and open when you approach. Smart lighting will help you see your way back into the daylight and zircon will extract any lingering fumes – if you ‘haven’t already gone electric. The car will plug into a handily placed terminal and charge itself in your absence.
The car itself will also be smart. Unlocking at your approach, on the motley optimising the speed for greater fuel efficiency, activating the brakes in an emergency and avoiding unexpected obstacles. Soon the vehicle will be able to drive itself!
The technology behind all this is developing at speed. Control4, the system we recommend for seamless home automation supports over 8,000 devices and partners with more than 60 other companies dedicated to promoting interoperability as the driving force behind smart home technology.
Future development is difficult to predict but the tipping point is reached when people realise that far from a gaggle of unconnected apps and wiring, a smart home is an integrated home. The future home is the ideal combination of security, convenience and dare I suggest luxury.
If you’re interested in Smart Security Systems in 2022, download our brochure here.