Introducing Smart Home Technology
Posted 05/01/2015 by BrightHouse Team
The last few years have seen devices such tablets and smartphones become ever more popular and important in our everyday lives, from doing things on the go to browsing the web at home. But what is the next step for technology that can change our everyday lives?
Smart home technology is all about integrating devices and systems into your home, making them interact with each other and with you. You can keep an eye on things no matter where you are with webcams, control your heating with your smartphone, or receive all your television via the internet.
It’s still early days for this type of technology, but there are already all sorts of exciting products and ideas out there for us to take a look at.
How would you like to be able to turn your heating on just at the right time so you can arrive home to a warm house? With a system like Hive from British Gas, you can control your heating from your smartphone, so you can make adjustments on the go if needed. If you know you’re going to be arriving home later than planned, you could delay the heating coming on so you’re not wasting energy warming up an empty house.
Another product which aims to make your heating smarter is the Nest thermostat. This also can be controlled via smartphone, and has integrated tablet apps to review your energy consumption and temperature history. The device itself is designed to be much simpler and more enjoyable to use than the older style programmers, as well as being much nicer to look at.
Perhaps a less practical piece of technology, Philips’s range of Friends of Hue coloured lightbulbs allow you to change the colour of the light in your room, matching your décor or your mood. The WiFi controlled bulbs can be programmed to glow in 16 million different colours, as chosen via your smartphone or tablet. There are also separate table lamps available, also controlled via an app, for which you create automated programmes, useful for deterring burglars or coming home to a well-lit house.
Home CCTV systems are now more sophisticated and easier to use than ever, and can be accessed over the internet from your smartphone at any time. There are cameras for indoor and outdoor use with features such as built-in night vision, so you can always see what’s happening at home even when you’re not there.
Another new technology that may soon be appearing in our homes is the virtual assistant, able to monitor our daily lives to make sure everything is working as it should. Mother from Sense looks like a futuristic Russian doll, but is actually the brain at the heart of a system of sensors designed to allow you to monitor everything from your sleep cycles to making sure your kids arrive home from school.
Amazon’s Echo system, not yet released in the UK, is another household assistant that behaves in a similar way to the voice recognition software on your smartphone. You can ask it questions, tell it to set an alarm, or add something to your shopping list. Chances are it will be used by Amazon to target users with ever-more tailored product recommendations, and make it even easier to purchase things from its website, but the technology still has some exciting potential for use in the home.