Imagine a home where lighting, heating, entertainment and security can all be controlled from the same device, either at the touch of a button or by intelligent voice commands. This vision, once solely the preserve of science fiction, will become a reality for many homeowners within the next few years as advancing electronics and an increased awareness of environmental concerns propel smart home technology rapidly forwards.
Most modern home technology centres around the use of smartphones or tablets to control the variables in your environment. Central heating, or specifically thermostat regulation, is an industry that’s predicted to increase in value by $600 million over the next three years, thanks to the vast potential of this new technology. In a smart home, occupants are able to set energy-saving timetables, a development that’s proven to reduce the energy required to heat or cool a property by almost a third. Should your schedule change unexpectedly, you can easily edit the timetable remotely from your smartphone. Installing this technology provides homeowners with a flexible and simple way to reduce household bills, conserve energy and enjoy their optimum room temperature at all times.
Other developers have honed in on individual appliances, seeking ways to make them more efficient and responsive. The coffee maker, for example, could be programmed to turn on and make a hot drink the moment its owner gets out of bed. When that person later returns home from work, an app on their smartphone could open their front door automatically after recognising their heartbeat. It's expected that all this technology would be interconnected, assuaging fears of having to manage a multitude of different programmes on different devices.
These gadgets are on course to make an appearance within the foreseeable future, but for many forward-thinking engineers and innovators, the immediate priorities centre around more mundane, everyday technology that makes life a little more convenient for the home's inhabitants. Examples include the development of a radiator that intelligently responds to an open window, and an alert system that informs you when guests have arrived even when you're at the bottom of the garden.
Once solutions like these are developed, the extent of the smart home technology installed in each modern property will be determined by the occupant, their circumstances and their habits. Some may judge smart heating to be an essential, while others will install security technology before considering interior comforts.
Although convenience and environmental concerns are leading motivators in smart home design, they're far from the only ones. In response to parental concerns regarding their children's time in front of the television, it will be possible to programme your television so that children are only able to watch at specific times. These inventions could soon save lives, too; in the event of a house fire, smart technology could notify the emergency services, unlock the property’s doors and illuminate an evacuation route.
To view exclusive properties that are smart home technology ready, visit Engel & Völkers. With high-end properties in desirable neighbourhoods around the world, our expert agents will ensure that your new home has everything you're looking for.