Smart technology is becoming increasingly integrated into our daily lives. Our houses are no exception. The increasing demand for smart home appliances and home entertainment systems is altering the way we socialise. Today, for better or worse, is only the tip of the iceberg. Current trends appear to indicate a greater demand for more control over how we are entertained at home by technology. One area to keep an eye on is what is known as flexible viewing surfaces. These promises of being able to curve around any environment will completely transform home entertainment and advertising.
Every new invention requires a distinct selling point, and for many people, the main selling point of smart technology is the comfort factor, which can also be translated as convenience. People of a certain age may recall when electronic devices transitioned from requiring physical button presses to responding to remote controls. People who are too young to remember this will have to imagine the annoyance of having to walk across to a device every time you wanted to make even a minor change to its settings.
Lights are another example of how smart technology can help us be safer. Everyone is aware of the trick of leaving lights turned on to make a home appear occupied, but there are two issues with doing so at this time. The first is that it is expensive, and the second is that it is well known and can usually be identified with a little observation. Putting lights on a timer cycle can help to counterbalance this, but when a home is occupied, lights are used in a fairly regular pattern based on the occupants’ lifestyle, plus lights are used in combination with window coverings and other systems such as TVs, so simply switching lights can help.
Smart technology, on the other hand, can make it appear credible and act as a real deterrent to burglars. It can also lead to far more sophisticated home security systems; for example, there are now doorbells that create a three-way link with a camera and your smartphone, allowing you to see and, if desired, communicate with anyone who comes to your door even if you are not nearby. In time, these systems may become intelligent enough to recognise who is allowed access to your home and let them in automatically, eliminating the need for lost keys or rushing home to let someone in who has forgotten theirs.
Finally, smart technology bridges the gap between the digital world of technology and the analogue world in which we live, resulting in a more efficient and sustainable lifestyle. Perhaps the most visible example of this is the widespread adoption of precise, sensor-driven technology in place of traditional timer systems. For example, home heating and/or air-conditioning systems can now respond to actual temperature rather than simply switching on and off according to schedules we’ve established based on previous season experience.