Take Control, what are Smart Homes?

‘Alexa, will it rain today?’ Talking to inanimate objects in the home has become normal for some. It’s part of a rapidly growing trend to make homes smarter, but what exactly makes a home smart?
‘Smart home is a term we’ve heard in technical circles for a while now, but as more devices are coming to the market with these capabilities, it’s something that the average homeowner is starting to become familiar with. Even everyday kitchen appliances such as fridges and kettles, are being made smart,’ explains BRAND Designs director, Ashley Pearson.

After learning more about the different ways a home can be smart, it’s apparent that the easiest way to define a smart home is simply adding a device to your home to make everyday tasks easier, or even fully automated. While this may sound like a bit of a gimmick, it can make a big difference to many. People living with a disability for example can greatly benefit from these systems. Imagine being able to open and close the blinds and curtains with just a voice command. Adding simplicity, ease and security to people’s lives, is at heart of what makes the perfect smart home. It appears that every household can benefit from this new smarter way of living.
‘We often integrate smart home systems into our designs, especially in new build or refurbishment projects. Most common are lighting controls, which offer conveniences such as turning off all the lights in the home with a single button press when leaving. Popular too are music and AV systems for streaming music and TV into every room in the house, and even the garden. Automated curtains and blinds are fast becoming very popular, with the added privacy and security they provide to a home.’ All these smart devices have the added benefit of being controlled by a smartphone app or voice assistant, such as Alexa, Google Home, or Siri, as well as conventional switches.

The number of products available to add into a smart home is surprising, from freezers to thermostats. If it all starts to seem overwhelming that’s where the service from a specialist, like BRAND Designs can help. For people about to embark on a new build, the assurance from having experts see the project through from beginning to end is probably invaluable.
‘Although some of these smart products can be added to a home by a budding DIYer, for true integration and solid reliability, integrating smart technologies at the early planning stage is a must.’ says Ashley. ‘To get a design right, you need to take time to really learn what the homeowner wants to achieve, their requirements, and the way they will live day to day in their finished home. Only by working closely with the clients and trades involved on the project, can the perfect outcome be achieved’.

So, while receiving messages from the washing machine doesn’t seem like a benefit to anyone, being able to turn the heating up while returning from holiday certainly does have its appeal. As does being able to set the lights to automatically turn on and off to mimic people being home, while away from the home. Furthermore, many of these systems save energy by turning off unused appliances when the room or home is vacant. There are real world advantages to having these devices quietly working away in the background, while we go about our daily lives.

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