If you believe the hype, then no longer does one have to worry about the oven being left on, a dripping tap, or running out of milk. Our devices will allow us to communicate with our homes from afar, and our homes to interact with us intuitively when we are there –great for everyone from the regular traveller to the homebody it seems.
And so, having installed a home hub we must then progressively buy appliances which it will be able to communicate with. For now, LED lighting, internal thermostat controlled heating, and security systems are pretty much all go, but sadly we’re still a pretty long way away from the utopian dwellings of Jetsons ilk.
Yes we will spend hours and days stylising and linking our phones, iPads, computers, work computers, and all appliances to our hub and feel justified as we proudly show friends and family our “smart” house, which is ONE form of instant gratification, one does not really want to be stuck with long drawn out product releases making tiny technology steps despite the manufacturers boasts of superiority.
One thing is for sure, this technology will only improve over time, and has many game changing characteristics. Elderly autonomy will be extended with the ability to live independently for longer – fridges which order food to be delivered to the house when supplies are low, lighting, heating and appliances which turn off when not in use preventing electrical fires etc. Parents can keep an even closer eye on offspring, and hoteliers, landlords and holiday home owners alike can theoretically reduce maintenance time and effort required, even without the robotic maid.
But before considering a smart home system, stop and consider whether the complexity of the system balances against the usability of the system. No point making your life harder right? These tips from How Stuff Works are well worth considering:
- What kinds of components are part of the system? Are they basic, such a light dimmer, or more imposing, like an alarm system or a video camera?
- How intuitive will the system be to a non-user?
- Is the device actually fulfilling a need or is it just a fancy and potentially frustrating toy?
- How many people will be required to use the system?
- Who will know how to operate the system? Who will know how to maintain the system and address failures?
- How easy is it to make changes to the interface? For example, if your house is programmed to wake you up at 7 a.m., how will you let it know that you’re away overnight on business or sleeping in on a Saturday?
But for now, and for the majority of us, our doors won’t open and close automatically, our house robot won’t clean or cook and our hover cars won’t zip through the atmosphere to wherever you need them to go. And so, my advice is to wait…there is better, smarter technology to come (think cellphones 15 years ago, or flat screen televisions – astronomically priced and rapidly obsolete). For now satisfy the craving with wireless sound hub (like a Sonos) that you can play all your music from wherever you are (yes this will need 10mins smartphone set up time), or engage with your smart appliances and their apps individually, and let the property developers do it for you.
One of the big bonuses in buying off the plan/new housing is the ability of the developer to use buying power to get hold of new technology, appliances, and better quality finishes and fittings at a reasonable price. EQ has plans for installing LED lighting in all our developments, and is the process of investigating the install of smart home hubs within our new builds. While we certainly won’t be the only ones, our broad collection of developments across the spectrum ensures we’re able to get hold of a better quality product. And frankly, installing the same item in hundreds of houses means that item had better work really well.
The moral of the story? As always, buy an EQ Home where you can Live Life Better!