While we may not use a jetpack to zip into the office, or fly to work or school in a Jetson’s style hover car, technology has dramatically changed how we work, communicate and play. While once the distant dreams of science fiction writers the Smart Home of the future is rapidly becoming the routine home of today. But what are some of the key elements that set a Smart Home apart from a more traditional property? Let’s look at a few of them.
A Smart Home is undoubtedly one that is energy efficient. It takes a lot of energy to operate a home, from heating the water for the morning shower, to taking the chill off during the winter months, to having the lights on to read the evening paper. These and countless other activities consume power and generate expense. While a Smart Home does not operate without energy it makes the maximum use of the energy it does receive. In many cases with solar panels, wind turbines and other systems it may actually generate much of the energy it uses on its own.
A true energy neutral house is one that produces all of the energy it consumes on its own. While some examples do exist even today, their numbers are small but they certainly offer glimpses into what’s to come. Aside from super insulation to reduce heat loss and low energy lighting systems to cut down on the lighting bill, Smart Homes are being equipped with wi-fi enabled thermostats that can be controlled remotely, light switches that respond to your presence and much more. In fact the use of smartphone technology has become an integral part of the Smart Home experience with specialized applications looking after most household functions with a few simple taps.
A Smart Home is also one that is safe and secure. Much like having a private security force on site 24/7, integrated security systems can today seamlessly keep an eye on your property and alert you and the authorities if necessary. Video surveillance cameras, motion sensors, smoke and other detectors, computerized locks and more can now be blended together in ways that are both intuitive and unobtrusive. In fact in time the human touch, once the initial programming is complete, will become almost unnecessary. A true modern Smart Home will recognize you and your family and handle most of the routine functions automatically, such as security and heating, without you having to do anything once fully programmed.
A modern Smart Home is also all about convenience. The technology exists today to have refrigerators that link to the Internet to inform you of coming sales or to tell you if the milk has gone off. Interconnectivity is a central feature of all Smart Homes, with the music of your choice following you from room to room, or your coffee maker programmable via a smartphone. If you’re an Apple phone user the all knowing Siri (through its HomeKit application) can be programmed into a Smart Home to answer your questions, turn the lights on and off and to even remind you about the dinner party you have planned.
Smart Homes are only in their infancy, but key elements of them are quickly being embraced by the construction industry. In time what seems extraordinary about a modern Smart Home will be a routine part of any home construction. Considering how far this technology has brought us today, consider what might be available next year, or in 10 years. Hover car anyone?