Do you want a home that anticipates your every need and actively works to make your life easier? Although it may sound futuristic, such a thing could be a reality in 2019, thanks to smart home trends reaching the market.
A smart home is one that uses smart technology, meaning devices can 'learn' and act to regulate parts of your home and lifestyle using databases, sensors and wireless connectivity. If you do decide to invest in some of these trends, you’ll have a future-ready house that will take care of you for years to come.
With the growing popularity of wireless speaker systems that can connect your entertainment devices to the rest of the home, you may already be able to listen to your music all over the house. The natural extension of this is video, with devices on the horizon (like Amazon's recently announced Fire TV Recast) that can record live TV and broadcast shows and films from your entertainment system to your devices, so you can watch whatever you want from anywhere in your home.
But it's not just about audio and video playback: there are some devices that are also capable of listening to you. Virtual assistant systems like Amazon's Alexa seem likely to continue to evolve, with an Alexa robot on the horizon.
If you've ever been unfortunate enough to lose a house key, you'll know the panic that can set in as you wonder whether it could have been stolen or simply picked up by someone who could put your security at risk.
Just as other smart home trends have veered more towards extreme individualisation of products and services, new smart home products for security are no exception. A smart door lock can work with your fingerprint instead of a key, just as your phone does, giving you and up to 99 other pre-approved people access to your home.
It's not all about boosting the products and services you already have in your home: sometimes smart home technology is about knowing when to turn them off to save both money and energy.
The Nest thermostat is capable of learning your schedule, using energy to heat your home and water only when you need it. You can also control it from your phone, so you won't need to get out of bed to adjust the thermostat. The Nest also operates remotely, so you can switch it on when you're on your way home to ensure the luxury of a warm welcome, even if you're not running to your usual schedule.
Smart technology is an exciting topic to follow in its own right, but in order to be of the greatest possible benefit to you, the tech in your home should improve upon the system it's replacing in a valuable way. That could be by giving you more freedom, offering shortcuts, or by helping you to save either time or money in the long term.
Bear these criteria in mind as you shop for smart home technology and fit it around your own current lifestyle and needs.