Remember when the automatic roller door on the garage was something to marvel at? Today’s smart homes are full of technology we couldn’t have imagined a few decades ago
Here are seven smart home trends for 2013:
At their most complex, smart homes can work out what needs to happen before the owner does – some systems can be programmed to maximise solar heat and light in winter and minimise it in summer with automatic blinds, shutters and temperature control systems. If there’s a fault the system can email the owner and immediately let them know what’s wrong.
Press one button to lock the doors and know that you haven’t left the lights on, or check in on your home from a smart phone or tablet while travelling.
Energy efficiency is where it’s at.
Smart meters have been around for a while but they’ve just become a lot smarter
But experts are at pains to highlight that these technologies are only “smart” if you use them to monitor and reduce your carbon footprint.
For a while now the fashion in luxury new homes has been a hard wired media room, or home theatre.
A touch screen on your phone, tablet or remote control is master of your AV/TV system, Internet, temperature, lights, blinds, music and more.
But one of the newest innovations is D-box, a system for re-creating movements and vibrations as if you were in the film scene. And 3D is just about in reach for home theatres.
Home appliances have taken over from media as the big growth market in smart technology.
Think Ilve’s self cleaning pyrolytic oven or LG’s smartrack steam dishwashers.
But a fridge that creates a shopping list for you? Yes, Samsung has released Smart Refrigerators with WiFi and 8 inch LCD touchscreens complete with apps that track food stored, recipes, meal plans, news updates and even photo storage.
Smart cleaning means not getting your hands dirty.
Remember The Jetsons?
Well, the future is already here and companies like Robomaid boast that you can come home to a freshly vacuumed floor every day. The iRobot scooba will mop your floors using a squeegee-vacuum, the robomow will mow your lawn and iRobot’s looj will clean your gutters while you put your feet up.
Smart gadgetry allows you to bring the indoors outdoors.
Like outdoor entertaining areas with external speakers, TVs, fans, heaters and lighting controlled by a smart phone without leaving the pool .
Then there’s the Koubachi WiFi plant sensor to help your garden grow, apps to BBQ a perfect steak or check the level of your gas bottle.
Smart home security covers any situation from burglar alarms and bunkers to detecting fires, gas leaks and flooding.
Connectivity is where it’s headed – using the Internet to touch base with or control your home.
Everything you own can be your eyes and ears.
The key feature in most smart homes right now is lots of wiring and cabling, so to maximise longevity the message is think ahead: cabling is hard to install so give thought to what you need now as well as what you might need in the future.
Experts predict prices will lower for all smart home platforms as the technology moves from the luxury to the mainstream and 4G and NBN increase speed, connectivity and accessibility.
And remember: you don’t need to be techy. The complicated systems run in the background. You just need to tell the system what you want…
Written by Emma Sorensen is a writer and editor who has published on topics as diverse as the arts, medicine, online classifieds, and property. She now runs a boutique agency, Antelope Media www.antelopemedia.com.au, specialising in copy writing and publishing.