We all have smart phones and smart cars now and the latest fashion trend is for the top designers to be working on “smart” clothing or wearable technology, so it’s probably true to say the smart home will not be too far behind.
It’s nothing particularly futuristic to imagine what a smart home would look like. The technology has been around for quite a while. What is the latest washing machine or dishwasher other than a piece of smart technology? Yes, we still have to load and unload them but then the microchips and sensors take over. The latest dishwashers can sense how soiled your crockery is and adjust temperature and flow accordingly. Similarly with washing machines in terms of timers and sensors where spin cycles and wash programmes have endless settings to help conserve energy and reduce water waste.
If we apply these new technologies to entire home systems just think of the cost saving in energy alone. Just putting simple electricity usage sensors and displays in your home has been proven to cut energy use by up to 20% per annum. When you see those numbers and dials stop moving just by switching off your entertainment systems and laptops rather than have them sit on standby for hours on end you will understand why. Electricity is not cheap and never will be.
This is where it can start to get very futuristic for most people. Apps are now available where you can control your remote home systems wherever you might be. If you can use a remote control for your music system you can design your entire home to be remotely controlled. From your laptop or tablet at work, or on the move via your smart phone, it is now possible to make sure every light was switched off and that the thermostat is at the correct setting or even open and close your blinds in each room. Going away for a couple days? No problems if you decide to stay for an extra day. Just reset your heating timers and lights to come on when you need them. Great for security too, if you can have your interior and exterior lights come on at random times. You could even go as far as having water sensors fitted in case of burst pipes or leaking roofs, but maybe that’s taking it a step too far for most people (unless you have suffered water damage before).
How about a refrigerator that can order your food for you? Check. It is available. Built in Wi Fi enabled touch screens are now the latest trend in high end refrigerator design. No more finding a pen and paper to scribble down your grocery order. Just set it up on your app and order online for next day delivery from your favourite supermarket. Never run out of anything ever again, even ice, because most designs are now plumbed in to enable constant ice cube making. How much of a domestic God or Goddess do you really want to be?
When you also think of having motion sensor taps fitted in your new kitchen and having sensor controlled ovens (no more half- baked pizzas or guessing if the oven is really set at 220 degrees) it is amazing how far we have come in such a short space of time. Imagine what the next decade will bring. I am still waiting for the self- ironing fabric! Now that would be real progress.