Smart Homes are all the rage these days. Controlling your entire home with your smart phone or tablet is indeed very handy. Some would say it’s for the lazy, but having the ability to close all the blinds and turn off the lights with one touch of a button without having to get off the couch has its benefits.
So what can you do with a Smart Home? Well as I just mentioned you can connect all your blinds to roll up and down, you can also connect all your lights so you can effectively control each individual light or have a master on/off, great for when you are leaving in the morning and then returning at night. You can also connect your home entertainment systems, such as TV, DVD player, audio system etc. Basically everything that has power to it you can control.
The topic of security always comes to mind when talking about Smart Homes, and how secure are they. Can someone hack into the system and take over my home? This is why choosing a reputable company to install and maintain the system is the best approach, who take security seriously and continually update their software to avoid and eliminate any flaws in their systems.
Do you have to have everything connected to the internet? No, you definitely do not. We have used LED strips and lights that use Bluetooth rather than wi-fi and found them to be a lot of fun as they often come with multiple colours. Giving you the ability to change the mood depending on the occasion. You can even sync them to your smart TV so that the colour in the room is responsive to what your watching. The ability to dim the lights via your phone is also a huge benefit.
For some people having a Smart Home is more so about monitoring there consumption and control of their home. Yes the gimmick of the system wears off after a while but after that people start to see the benefits.
What a good system looks like:
You wake up in the morning and a timer picks up your alarm from your phone, the lights slowly brighten to wake you up. Your heater and cooling unit is also synced to when you wake up and has the perfect temperature for you (some splurge and have hydronic heating and heated towel rails). Your shower also has preset temperatures for you and your google or apple speaker is playing your favourite music as you get ready for the day. As you walk into each area the lights automatically come on with their motion sensors and your smart kettle has already boiled the water for your morning cuppa. You switch your tv on by saying “hey Siri turn on the tv and put the news on” and like some kind of magic trick your preset channel is on the tv. Now it’s time to go to work. You walk to the car and pull out your phone, hit one button called “leave home” and now all the lights go off, your smart keypad locks the front door and turns the motion sensors on for the security system.
During the day your garden has been watered via the irrigation system, the solar panels have been collecting power and storing it to your battery pack for use when you get home (this also protects against any blackouts) and you can see your home via the security cameras you have placed around your home. Just before you get home you have set the oven to preheat and it is a bit cold so you preset the home to heat up 15 mins before you are due to arrive home. Once you get home the system picks up you have arrived when you type in your code on the digital door lock and turns on the radio in the living room.
After dinner you pack the dishes and put a load of washing in, you go and sit down and then turn them on via your phone. You dim the lights to watch your favourite movie all whilst using your mobile phone to do so. The kids go to bed but you can see on your device that their TV or internet is still in use and their power consumption is very high, so you hit a couple of buttons on your phone and it has switched off the internet to their rooms and dimmed the lights. I am sure you will immediately here “Dad stop it” but that is half the reason why you bought the system in the first place. Now it’s time for you to go to bed, but instead of checking the whole house you go straight to bed. From your tablet you close all the blinds, check that all the windows and doors are closed and locked (each has a sensor), the front door is closed, security system is set to night mode and with one touch turn off all the lights.
A bit like living in the future I know, but this technology is available now. And with time it is only going to get better and better. The best way to set this type of system up is when building a brand new home, as outfitting an existing home with that type of system can be time consuming and very costly. Builders such as Hallbury Homes offer smart home packages that can range from simple lighting control systems to full home integration, just like the example above. The beauty is you have the freedom to add some, all or none. It just depends how much you want to annoy your kids and how in control of your home you want to be.