Smart Homes: The Future is Here

Technological innovations are driving the demand for intuitive, simple and sustainable solutions for the home. The intelligent home is not an improbable futuristic concept, present only in science fiction, nor is it something that might become a reality in twenty years. The smart home is here and ready to be even smarter.

What is a smart home and why are homes starting to adopt this new lifestyle? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a smart home is “a home equipped with lighting, heating and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or computer. The smart house could also be called an ‘automated home’ or ‘connected home’.

Just as social networks have grown exponentially due to portable devices with multiple connections, so too has the “Internet of Things” (IoT) been responsible for the many innovations in smart homes, and both the use of these connected devices and IoT will continue to increase in the coming decades.

What’s so good about smart homes?

Now, people can have more control than ever over the devices in our home that provide us with comfort (heating, lighting, …) and savings (energy monitoring, automation, ..), without forgetting also safety (protection of people, goods, equipment, facilities …).

Nowadays, through a smartphone or a tablet, it is possible to intuitively control household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines or even coffee machines, with advanced configurations that improve the entire onsite environment or remotely.

Smart home technology has come so far that now, for example, with a simple smartphone alert, homeowners can control and communicate with someone who has just rang the doorbell, even from another continent!

The smart home offers its occupants unprecedented levels of control. Thanks to new intuitive technologies, home automation is accelerating at an incredible rate, also boosted by the fact that these innovations are becoming more affordable and easy to install, to the point of becoming a trend.

Smart homes don’t just control appliances. Now, through innovative and easy to use apps, it is also possible to control the use of energy in the home, in order to optimize the consumption of water, gas and electricity. This means that you can not only reduce bills and save significantly, but also contribute to a more sustainable planet.

How do electricians react to the smart home revolution?

Electricians in the residential sector are increasingly familiar with the smart home. According to a recent market study, almost 90% of electricians could explain what a smart home is, defining it as “a house where all appliances are integrated to provide control from a central point within the house and remotely.

The study revealed that 58% of electricians have recently received queries regarding smart homes. However, only 21% were able to talk in detail with their customers about the latest smart home appliances and products.

In addition, only 37% had installed smart home solutions, and of these only 10% are installing smart heating controls and another 10% lighting. Therefore, there is a big difference in the sector between knowing smart homes and actively participating in their installation.

Electricians are showing a genuine interest in smart home technology and recognise that they are quickly replacing traditional home control technology. A recent study by Voltimum** states that more than 70% of European contractors and installers believe that smart connected products are the future of electrical installations.

The future of the intelligent home

What’s clear is that the smart house is already here. So what does the future hold? Without a doubt, voice recognition and activation in household appliances are becoming commonplace in the home. So, soon, it won’t be uncommon to see the occupants of a house talking to their refrigerator for more fruit or to the coffee maker for their morning cappuccino.

The house of the future will soon be smart enough to distinguish family members from each other and will adapt to individual needs based on biometric data such as fingerprints, body temperatures and even heart rate.

A small device around our wrist will identify us when it synchronizes with our heartbeat, allowing us to automatically adjust lighting, ambient temperature and play custom music according to custom preferences and configured profiles. However, there may still be some time before this possibility becomes a reality!

Residential installers will be in a much better position to grow their business through a solid understanding of smart home technology.

Kenneth C. Silver

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