2015 Insights into the Smart Home
Smart home technology has developed and will continue to develop at a furious pace, with new applications coming out every day. The market in the UK is set to double by 2019, with around 7.7 million homes incorporating smart home technology by then. The list of devices that can be connected into your smart home network is almost endless, especially with the idea of the internet of things, whereby objects can be connected into your home through microchips or smart batteries.
While the industry is expanding in all directions, the main focus of change has been centered around several core areas, including security, comfort, efficiency and entertainment. Security is perhaps one of the most seductive reasons for home owners to embrace smart technology and can feel very empowering to the user. You can now switch your house to ‘away mode’ when you go out, thereby activating the security systems. These systems generally include linked cameras and sensors that can alert you to any problems and intruders and can be controlled remotely via a smart phone. Any problems that come up will be relayed to you by phone, email or text. As demand for these technologies grows, so does the uptake of fibre optic broadband, which can help to improve smart home experience, particularly as it aids quick video streaming over webcams.
However, smart technology will increasingly provide much more than just security, allowing a home that shape-shifts around your movements and constantly controls for comfort. This is trend that will really start to take off in 2015. When you wake up in the morning for example, you might be awoken by your favourite song, the curtains will open, the lights brighten, your coffee will brew and the heating will turn on. The house will shift with your actions, so if you open a window, the heating will turn down, but return to normal when you close it. A related feature that will become more prevalent is the use of wearable technology that will be able to track your movement around the house and which helps the system to control your environment to your liking. In addition, you can have a system that relays information to you wherever you are in your home. For example, if the post or a person arrives at your door when you are in the garden, you can be alerted by text.
This year will also show up the first connected appliances. These will be connected to manufacturers and service engineers, relaying information about potential breakdowns and allowing a repairer to arrive with the correct parts without you having to give any information.
Smart home technology will also start to impact on home insurance. Rather than relying on information provided by customers, smart homes can give much more detailed information about home security and lesson the risk of damage thereby bringing down insurance premiums.
Smart homes do of course pose challenges for the user and companies that invest in them. Concerns over security of personal information have been much discussed, with many systems being vulnerable to hackers. It is also a consideration for the customer just how much of their lives they want to share with the online world. There is already a huge amount of information given out, but smart homes can give away intimate details about our movements and choices at a level never seen before. It will therfore be in the hands of the consumer as to how much information they are willing to give away for the sake of comfort and efficiency in their home.