You will no doubt have heard the term ‘smart home’ (where you can talk on your smartphone, watch your smart TV, and park your smart car), but what does it actually mean? Are there any real benefits to be gained from a smart home set up?
A smart home is essentially one that has a range of automation systems in place. There are a variety of different technology products that can form part of a smart home system, with the aim being to combine these in such a way that all the various functions can be controlled from a single app, ideally making your home more liveable.
A smart home will enable you to perform tasks like program household appliances in advance, open the garage door while you’re still in the car, switch the lights on and off remotely, or monitor your home security wherever you are and at any time, all through an app on your phone or tablet.
Imagine, for instance, that you’ve been out on a hot summer’s day but forgot to set the timer for the air con to come on, and so are dreading returning home to a boiling hot house. However, with a home automation system, you can switch your cooling system on using the integrated app on your phone while you’re still out, meaning you will be able to return to a nice, cool house after all.
Smart home technology can provide a range of practical benefits, such as enhancing energy efficiency and making home security more effective and reliable. For instance, by using your smart home system to program when your electrical appliances come on or switch off, you can better optimise your energy use in line with your lifestyle. In addition, a smart home security system will significantly improve your levels of domestic protection. You can control your security doors or check your CCTV remotely, while digi-locks will provide you with real-time notifications should there be any unusual activity when you’re out. You can enjoy other forms of home security as well, as a smart home system can be integrated with smoke, gas and leak detectors, meaning you will notified instantly (even when you’re out or asleep in bed) should a potential emergency occur.
A well designed and user-friendly home automation system will be designed to meet the specific lifestyle needs of you and your family, easy to understand, intuitive to use, and offer high levels of flexibility. It will enable you, with a single tap, to perform tasks like operate your home theatre, close the curtains, or dim the lights, regardless of where you are.
It should also be robust, reliable and low maintenance, and have stable connectivity with all of the devices to which it’s connected, while not impacting on other devices connected to your home wi-fi network.
A common misconception is that automated living systems can only be integrated into new homes. However, this is not the case and it is relatively straightforward retrospectively to install one in your existing property, regardless of its vintage (although there will be some exceptions to this).