Is 2014 going to be the year that your home gets smarter? The transformation from home to smart home will come just as quickly and dramatically as the transformation from phone to smartphone, at least that’s what Samsung said at this year’s IFA.
In a smart home, heating, lighting and electronic devices are connected to the internet. This opens up limitless new possibilities for how the homes of tomorrow will work, with the ability to operate your home remotely via smart phone being just the tip of the iceberg. There are 1.9 million smart home devices in use today, but that’s small change compared to the 45 million smart home systems predicted to be in use by 2018.
1. The Staggering Rise of Energy Bills and Greener Attitudes
Home automation makes your home more energy efficient. According to consumer watchdog Which? energy bills are set to rise at a rate of £640 per year by 2020, as the costs of re-hauling the national grid and keeping the lights on at power stations will be passed onto the consumer. At the same time that energy bills are rising, today’s consumers are considering the impact that their purchases have on the environment. Smart homes are an excellent solution to both of these problems. By ensuring that energy is not wasted on heating empty rooms, home automation products end up being good for the planet and great for the wallet.
2. Smartphones Enable Smart Homes
The ubiquity of smartphones is vital to the success of smart homes. Almost everyone owns a smartphone, knows how to use them and carries one with them everywhere they go. They are also the perfect device for controlling a smart home. Whilst investing in a wall mounted control panel is a nice touch for the luxury home, much of the same functionality is already possible through your current smartphone or tablet.
3. We Finally have Technology that Works Well, Feels Good, and Looks Great
Your home is more than just a shelter from the outside world. It has to work the way you want it to, feel the way you want it to, and look the way you want it to. Five years ago, bringing better technology into your home meant more cables and more mess. Now that better technology means more functionality, yet less mess, people are keener to welcome it into the home.
Take products like the BeoSound Essence that work intuitively and look beautiful. Having your speakers integrated into the ceiling and television screens mounted on the wall frees up valuable space around your home to get creative with design. Companies like Apple have shown the world that tech doesn’t have to mean ugly, and Kensington AV have shown that the smart home can be a beautiful home.
4. Apple, Google and Especially Samsung
The involvement of major tech companies, including Apple, Google and Samsung, is a massive boost to home automation. These companies have the necessary resources, expertise and experience to achieve game-changing results. Samsung is of particular interest here because they already make every kind of consumer electronic that you could care to name. In an automated home, everything in your house will be connected, and have the ability to talk to you as well as each other. If all of your electronics are built by the same brand, then that conversation might go a lot more smoothly.
5. The Price is Right
Home automation used to be the preserve of a small super wealthy minority, but prices are coming down quickly. Whilst the very latest and the very best tech products are always going to be expensive, we’re getting to a point where more and more consumers see some form of home automation as not only desirable, but also affordable. Today, 37% of people who own a smart home product have an income of less than £45,000, and 20% of people who own a smart home product rent, rather than own, their primary residence. This is a completely different situation to what we were seeing even five years ago.
For all the current trends, the most important factor driving the growth of the home automation sector today is that smart homes offer a solution to an age-old problem. People want to keep their family safe and their property secure. Smart homes allow them to do this more easily. The peace of mind offered by remotely lockable front doors and windows, or by a cutting-edge carbon monoxide detector, is something that parents from every walk of life can see the value in.