Literary genius, futurist and inventor Arthur C. Clarke once proclaimed that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It is this vision that drives today’s smart technology.
Whether automating light and heating to create ideal environments, or charging phones with wireless electricity, smart living concepts are revolutionising our domestic lives. In fact, they’re so central to cutting-edge design that it’s hard to build a single, clear vision for your home. However, if you can, you’ll create a truly magical space.
To help you identify the launch point for your own concept, we can break down smart living concepts into four categories:
Devices that learn your habits and behaviours in order to automatically create the perfect environment in every room: whatever the time of day, or day of the week. The latest designs debuted in the UAE centre on a single hub that can manage lighting, heating, sound and visual entertainment for a fully tailored experience.
These focus on connecting your real and digital worlds to give you more control. Increasingly centred on digital assistants like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, they also include everyday tools like smart security devices that let you check on your home when you’re away, and kettles you can start boiling so your tea is ready when you get in from work.
While smart tech often requires energy, it can also save plenty too. Luxury, sustainable design has never been more popular and more possible. As well as iconic images of grass roofs and tree-lined apartments, automated lighting and heating can save energy without compromising on lifestyle.
Ecological design doesn’t have to take its green credentials literally. As architectural expert Eric Vökel notes, new developments in pre-fab housing are delivering uniquely customisable modular properties with spaces that can be tailored to any lifestyle.
Of course, none of these concepts exist in isolation, and can either conflict or complement one another when used simultaneously. Try to think of them as representing the starting point in your own automation experience: a mood board of sorts. Once you have your vision in place, you can continue adding and evolving your base system until you have a perfectly tailored smart home.
If you’re starting with the architecture and deciding whether to renovate your space, start from the ground up or opt for custom pre-fab buildings. This will dictate how far you can integrate your smart living concept. Later phases will be defined by the operating systems you select. Before looking at smart assistants, consider whether you need infrastructure from a utility point of view, such as Hive, or from an entertainment-led stance, in which case firms like Samsung lead the way.
Like any good design project, your smart living concept is never 100% complete. Once you’ve mapped out your vision and chosen the right platform to base it on, the architecture is complete: but there are always new pieces to discover and lifestyle trends that evolve.
To make sure your smart home isn’t just ‘now’ but is totally futureproof, you need to keep your finger on the pulse to spot those fresh developments. Annual tech shows like CES are a great place to do this, as are interior design commentators and our own smart home blog.