Innovations In Smart Home Technology
Published October 12, 2016
Today, modern homes are automated with the latest advances in technology in ways that would astound and amaze our ancestors.
From the exterior to throughout the interior, smart home technology can literally change your lifestyle, offering energy savings, enhanced security, functionality, convenience and comfort through automation.
Smart homes can be designed to handle many of the routine household chores that consume our time. They can activate the lawn sprinklers, water houseplants, automate lighting, lock and unlock doors, adjust appliances, operate domestic robots, feed, and water pets, draw a bath and make the morning coffee. You are in control.
It doesn’t matter if you issue a command via remote control, voice, tablet or mobile device the house reacts. Just tell your home what to do and it does it. Let your imagination run wild with endless ideas. If you can dream up a chore than can be automated, your electrical smart home contractor can design an automated action.
While “smart home” technology has actually been available to the general public since the late 1990s, it was previously restricted to ambitious tech-savvy hobbyists or the very affluent. However, smart home technology is no longer a dream for some bright day in the future; the technology is available now. The rapidly advancing development of wireless connectivity technologies and cloud-based software allows innovative vendors to offer smart home solutions for a mere fraction of the cost of traditional systems.
Smart home technology integrates the home with computer technologies that make it work more efficiently and intelligently. While the typical home may contain a diverse array of gadgets, electronic systems, and personal mobile devices, it does not yet qualify as a “smart home.” A “smart home” incorporates expert integration and networking systems to tie all of the home’s automation systems and personal electronics together into a single simple system the homeowner can access and operate via a networked enabled remote from anywhere.
Experts in the industry describe the technology, stating, "Smart Homes refers to a residence equipped with computing and information technology devices that anticipate and respond to the needs of the residents; thus, working towards enhancing their comfort, convenience, security, and entertainment through the up gradation of technology within the home. The concept of smart homes has been in the picture for a long time; such homes have always been a dream of homeowners and, presently, a lot of developments and regulatory initiatives are taking place with regards to the same."
Automating processes throughout the residence makes homes more convenient, enjoyable and safer for the entire family. Monitoring, energy conservation, efficiency, security and convenience are the primary motivators for the installation of smart home technology as builders and homeowners alike recognize that “a smart home is a smart investment” providing a rapid return on investment and a considerable increase in buyer appeal and property value.
Rely on your smart home consultant to guide you through the wealth of home automation products that fit your lifestyle. Major manufacturers of smart home technology equipment include Control4 Corporation (USA), Lutron Electronics, Inc. (USA), Honeywell Inc. (USA), Siemens AG (Germany), ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), Emerson Electric Co. (USA), Schneider Electric S.A. (France), Legrand S.A. (France), Tyco International Ltd. (Switzerland), Ingersoll-Rand PLC (Ireland), Creston Electronics, Inc. (USA) and more.
Eco-Friendly & Environmentally Conscious
Smart homes offer energy efficiency savings by sending electronic devices to “sleep” and “waking” them up when a command is given. Energy bills are reduced when lights are controlled on a timed cycle or automatically turned off when a person leaves the room. Comfort levels are electronically monitored and rooms heated or cooled based on occupancy. With smart home technology in place, you can even remotely change exterior and interior lighting so that it appears that the home is occupied, even when it's not.
During daylight hours, natural lighting can be automatically controlled to activate draperies or window shades to make best use of natural light or to protect fine furniture and expensive rugs and floor coverings from excessive sunlight.
Automated air-filtration systems can cleanse the air of pollutants and allergens, improving air quality and comfort. With smart home technology, a simple click of a button on your mobile device when you are traveling on a hot day will have the home cool and comfortable when you return.
- The Belkin WeMo brings new intelligence to everyday devices by making the sockets and switches in your home more intelligent. Your electrical contractor can design a system that includes sensors, electrical outlets, light switches. Any plugged in device is easily controlled remotely with just a touch of your smartphone app.
- Many smart home professionals prefer the Nest Learning Thermostat that puts an end to wasting your hard-earned money on unused heating or air-conditioning. The unique little gadget recognizes your schedule in less than a week, programming itself to control your home’s internal temperature. Contact your electrical professional contractor for purchase and installation. Users have the satisfaction of going green and saving energy as well as dollars. The company states that Nest Learning Thermostat can save more than 20 percent on the average utility bill.
Dream Smart Home Kitchens
Traditionally the kitchen is the “heart of the home” when it comes to cooking, entertaining and family interaction. It’s no surprise that some of the neatest and most helpful smart home technology pairs with kitchen activities increasing kitchen functionality with streamlined and new-fangled gadgets to free up space and make household chores easier and faster.
In a smart home kitchen, it is simple and easy to shut off the oven, start the dishwasher or run a load of laundry with the click of a button or the sound of your voice. Unfortunately, science has yet to come up with a gadget to fold the clothes for you.
- Incorporating an LCD console user interface system located in a wall of the kitchen provides a crystal-clear intercom station for communication with every room in the house. You can even activate it from any mobile device inside or outside your home.
- With a refrigerator incorporating a built-in tablet that can access the Internet, homeowners can create their grocery list, play music or watch their favorite gourmet cooking show right on the screen of their refrigerator. Some units even incorporate features that tell you when you are running out of milk or need to replenish the produce drawer.
- The WeMo Slow Cooker takes the guesswork out of crockpot cooking. Connected to your home Internet, the WeMo takes slow cooking to a new level. Just place food items in the cooker prior to leaving for work in the morning, then with a click of your smartphone from work, control the temperature and time for a perfect meal, ready when you are.
- Consider adding kitchen counter tops that with just the wave of hand turn into an induction cooktop and are self-sterilized with built-in ultraviolet lights.
- If you are on a diet and conscious of calories and carbs, the TellSpec low-powered laser scans food and sends data on nutrients, calories, carbs and allergens to your mobile device. Combine with a SmartConnect Kitchen Scale for complete family nutrition monitoring. When connected with an app the SmartConnect scale tracks calories and nutrients in a daily food journal to help you monitor your food intake and stick to your diet.
Home Media Center
Whole-house audio streaming and a new custom home theater are smart home advantages that the whole family will enjoy. Choose from a wide selection of different elements to make your home entertainment features the envy of the neighborhood. Whether you wish to incorporate a home theater into your living or family room or create a separate media room, your electrical contractor can readily assist with design and installation.
- Imagine watching your favorite sporting event or movie with custom surround sound speakers on a 3D TV in the comfort of your ergonomically correct custom fit home theater chair.
- Enjoying shopping for the best 4K ultra 85-inch theater-quality HD television for your “man cave.” Both Sony and LG have launched impressive big screen models. Whether you are entertaining friends or enjoying a romantic night at home, a home media center will provide pleasure for years to come.
- If big is better, consider a drop-down ceiling mounted 119-inch projection screen with ceiling media center controlled from anywhere in the house with a cell phone, laptop or tablet. You can set up separate playlists for individual family members or stream different audio or video feeds to individual rooms of the house.
- Stop worrying if you remembered to lock the back door. With smart home technology you can arm the alarm, lock doors and secure windows with a click on an app on your mobile phone. Satisfied customers agree; the Goji Smart Lock is one of the best home locks available. Equipped with the latest in Bluetooth technology the Goji displays your name, snaps photos of anyone that appears at your door and even immediately sends you an alert by e-mail and text. Sleek design, coupled with 24/7 customer service and a design easy to install on preexisting doors, the Goji is a home security winner for both older homes and new construction projects.
- With smart home technology, you never worry about misplacing a key again. Easily set up unique entry codes for every household member or unlock the door for someone even if you are not there to meet them personally. Using smart home technology you can even open and close the garage door remotely.
- Working in tandem with the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector combines smoke and carbon monoxide detection in one highly accurate device. The Nest Detector speaks in a clear and distinct voice, telling you what the problem is. If it’s a false alarm because the toast is burning, a wave of your arm disarms the system. The Nest Detector alerts users by text if an alarm is activated or batteries are low when they are away from the residence.
- With smart home technology homeowners can activate their home security system from anywhere in the world and check on the home with both exterior and interior viewing cameras activated by just a touch of your tablet or mobile phone.
Smart home technology now allows patients to independently recover in the comfort of home rather than being dependent on an assisted living situation. 24/7 patient monitoring devices can wirelessly read and regulate blood glucose levels, provide ECG, EEG, Capnography imaging, Spirometer data and pulse oximeter readings directly to your caregiver and provide alerts if any reading is amiss and requires immediate attention.
Smart home integration allows you to have home electronics remind you to take your medicine and digitally controlled containers record if you did indeed remove the pill from the case. A mobile text or e-mail helps ensure that important medications are not missed and provides security against overdoses.
- Handicapped persons can remain independent in their homes with smart home technology to handle difficult to manage chores.
- Using remote monitoring by video and audio, adult caregivers can rest assured, knowing their parent is safe and secure in the comfort of their own home.
Planning A Smart Home Upgrade
No matter if you live in an older home you would like to update, or you are building a new home and want to include the latest technology, the majority of “smart home” designs are based on modular plans that allow for scalability. Systems are designed and engineered to be expandable allowing for future home control upgrades. Enhancing installed features or adding new elements as lifestyle, budget and time permit are easily accomplished.
A smart home allows the merging of the different environments of one’s life including personal, educational, work and leisure with non-intrusive technology personalized for the individual homeowner’s wants and needs. Engaging the services of a professional will help determine the benefits of different configurations and help you access the smart home functions that will work best for you and your family.