Smart home technology - Laptop and coffee on a bed

Smart home technologies are here to save you time, money and stress

Imagine arriving home on a cold, dark winter night. As you turn in off the highway, the driveway instantly lights up in front of you. The front door clicks open as you approach, inviting you to step into your warm, cozy house. The lights dim to a soft glow and soothing tunes stream from the hidden speakers in the walls. At last you can relax.

Think this sounds too much like a fantasy? Think again. Smart home technologies have arrived and they’re here to stay. Here are five ways smart home technology can improve your life.

1. Set it and forget it

Smart technologies allow you to have full control over your heating, lighting, sound and security settings, without the hassle of constantly having to switch things on and off.

Linking all your smart gadgets to a central hub (such as Samsung’s SmartThings or Google’s Nest) allows you to set up systems to automatically work together. Instead of an alarm clock, why not be woken by the light levels gradually increasing in your room and a rousing tune. Or during the summer months, set your blinds to open at a specified time so you’re woken by the morning sun.

Smart lightbulbs such as Stack’s Alba LED bulbs have an inbuilt motion sensor which will switch the lights on or off as you enter and leave a room, making light switches a thing of the past. No more having to remember to go round turning off the lights before you leave the house.

2. Technology that adapts to your lifestyle

Our lives today are busier than ever before. Being able to control what goes on at home from your iPad, phone or even your watch, means your home technology can be as flexible as you are.

Decided to go out for dinner after work? A quick tap of your phone (or wrist) to reset the timer for your heating means you’ll save energy and get back to a warm house. Got some friends round for the evening? Ask Siri to “switch to party time” and instantly the lighting dims and your preset list of party music starts to play.

Smart home technologies haven’t quite got to the stage of being able to cook you a gourmet four-course meal for six, but it’s only a matter of time.

3. Keep your home secure, even when you’re on vacation

There are a huge number of new, smart security systems on the market, from automated front door locks (no more keys) to cameras that start recording as soon as a sensor is triggered or flashing lights and sirens that sound when an unexpected entry is detected. Depending on the level of sophistication, these can either be set up to alert you when something happens, or go straight to your local police department.

If you’re keen to keep a solid key and lock on your front door, there’s a much simpler way to deter a would-be intruder: make them think you’re at home. Smart systems can track your normal behavior round the house and replicate this when you’re away, so no-one will ever know you’re not at home.

4. Save you money

It’s never been easier to track your energy and water consumption and work out where you can make savings. Using your smart home system app you can trial different energy saving strategies, such as dimming the lights or turning the thermostat down, to test the impact on your energy bills.

If you have a large, thirsty garden, you may be interested in the Rachio: a smart sprinkler control system that claims to save you up to fifty percent on your water bills. You can create a customized watering program, and it’ll use local weather data to adjust the schedule for forecast rain.

With a smart meter for your electricity you may also be able to take advantage of time-of-use tariffs from your utility provider. Rather than using your washing machine during the day, program it to come on in the early hours of the morning to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates.

5. Improve your mood

Sometimes all it needs is a change of scene to transform you from Mr Grumpy to Mr Happy. But what Mr Happy wants is not always the same. Some days it may be a hot bath with soothing classical music and warm, candle-like lighting. Other times it may be some upbeat dance tunes and a kaleidoscope of changing colors. With your integrated smart home system, you can set a variety of programs so there’s always something to suit your mood.

If you love modern design, check out Nanoleaf’s Aurora modular lighting panels, which promise to “add fun and excitement to your living space”. They may not guarantee to improve your mood, but they’ll definitely complement your interior decor.

Ever find you’re more grumpy and irritable in winter? Whether you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or just miss the sun, smart technology can help. Intelligent lighting systems adjust the color temperature of your lighting depending on the time of day. So you can wake up to a warm sunrise, have bright ‘sunshine’ during the day and go to sleep with the sunset.

Building smart technology into your new home

If you’re building a new home then you have a blank sheet of canvas when it comes to smart technology. Before you get your credit card out, have a good think about exactly how you want to integrate technologies into your home design.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the options? Get in touch to see how we can help make your ideas a reality.