7 Cool Things You Can Do with a Smart Home

Smart home is a concept that has been evaluating consistently. It’s a constantly evolving organism, much like the technology itself. It’s a platform that is destined to become essential in our lives at home. Despite the potential it withholds, however, no one can predict what will come out of smart home in 10 years. But what we do know is that this entirely new universe at home has some core values that will remain consistent. Two of them are are simplicity and convenience.

Simplicity and convenience are rather intangible qualities that is hard to demonstrate. That’s why we decided to provide 9 absolutely impressive benefits of smart home in real life scenarios everyone can relate to.

Change the lighting to your liking with different scenes

The lighting control options that comes along with a smart home system is not entirely limited to control over smartphones or iPads. Automating the lighting scenes provide you with wide range of lighting scenes that will fit your every mood and every activity. Now, by selecting preset scenes at a single touch, you can now adjust specific lights for a friendly get-together, a romantic dinner or a family movie night. Lutron, one of the leading lighting control providers in the world, offers an extensive range of control options, from custom-labeled wall switches to integration with the control systems Crestron and Control4 that enables you control over your iPad.

Something more impressive about lighting control is that it can also be set up to be fully automated. The lighting system can be integrated with the curtains. This means that as the sun sets, the curtains would automatically drop down and both indoor and outdoor lighting would be activated.

Lutron lighting control.

Play your entire music catalogue throughout the home

You may be a true audiophile who has a massive music library with CDs, vinyls and MP3s. Or you may be a casual listener who uses different streaming services to instantly get the song you want. With a smart home integration, you are now able to access all the music you want, both online and offline, everywhere at home. Multi-room music distribution systems ensure that you get the music you want in the room you want; kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, everywhere. You can play different tunes in different rooms, or even create a whole-house concert hall for a party.

When it comes to wireless music from multiple sources, Sonos is probably the primary brand that comes to mind. Through a wide range of wireless speaker options that can be integrated in multiple rooms, Sonos helps you get any song you want with a great multi-room experience. If you want to connect your existing speakers to this brand new wireless world, Sonos Connect can help you plug any speaker system into the system, too.

Sonos Multi Room Music Player

Enjoy a cinema experience in the comfort of your home

A home cinema system is one of the best places to see the magic of smart home automation in action. The abundance of entertainment technologies in the living room is ever expanding; TVs, DVD/Bluray players, surround sound systems, Sky boxes, Apple TV, media servers, you name it. The problem, however, is that with every new device, there is a new control interface (remotes) we need to learn and keep within reach all the time. After a point, it becomes rather a hassle to switch the system home as you tackle through the remotes one by one.

This is where smart home automation comes into play. Bespoke programmed control systems make it as simple as pushing a single button to prepare the entire system for your mode of entertainment. Want watch Sky TV? A single button will turn the TV on, put the speakers on to your preferred sound level and adjust the lighting to your liking. How about a movie on your Apple TV? Again, with a single button, you can turn down all your lighting, switch to Apple TV on and navigate through the content. The most amazing part is that you can do all this on a single remote. If you can’t let go of traditional remotes with physical remotes, there is a smart remote for that.

If you prefer to use your touchscreen tablet, there is also the option to custom build an iPad app so all your control options are right in front of you. Entertainment at home has never been easier and more enjoyable!

Smart home projection cinema with Lutron controlled in-wall vertical LED strip lighting.

Save money on energy bills

Comfort and convenience are not the only smart benefits of having a smart home system. In the abundance of electronics we are hosting at our homes, it is highly predictable how much more energy we are spending. To be environmentally conscious, however, is something smart home definitely can help you with.

Smart thermostats can now work more intelligently to save energy by using a number of innovations that ensure that no energy goes to waste. Occupancy sensors detect when someone’s home, internet connectivity helps you remotely change the temperature and automation eliminates the need to manually adjust the thermostat. For instance, a thermostat can be set up so that it will cool down when you’re sleeping and heat up before you wake up, or even turn the heat up as it detects that you’re heading home from work. Apart from the Google owned Nest, who is among the first smart thermostat brands, British Gas backed Hive and Honeywell are also offering a wide range of smart thermostats that offer great integration with your smart home automation system.

Lighting is an area of intense innovations when it comes to minimising the environmental footprint and reducing the use of energy. With the introduction of smart home, lighting is getting even more efficient, thanks to next generation LED lighting and dimming solutions that uses considerably less energy. A Lutron lighting system is fully adjustable, with options to create different scenes for different activities and dim any number of lights down for when you don’t need it too bright. Ability to dim the lights, together with occupancy sensors; will use minimal amounts of electricity.

Hive thermostat reduces the energy bills of your smart home.

Monitor your home even when you’re away

Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated features of smart homes are their interconnectivity. With the help of the Internet of Things, we are now more than able to remote into our homes and get alerted when something’s amiss. Here’s the available technologies that can keep you connected to your home even if you’re on the other side of the world:

 

See What’s Going on at Home

A wide range of IP security cameras are now able to connect directly to your home network. When you are away, you can instantly remote in to your home to check. There are also more advanced systems that automate the security and alert you. For instance, Nest’s security camera Nest Cam has motion sensors that sends notification to your phone when it detects movement. Nest also offers a subscription service to store all the security footage in the cloud infrastructure, eliminating the need to purchase separate storage.

 

Find Out Who Unlocked the Door

With a smart home system, you will also be able to monitor your door locks. Solutions such as August smart door lock and Samsung’s SmartThings offers door and window locking devices that will notify you when the door is locked/unlocked or when a window is opened. Moreover, they can also eliminate the need to carry a key altogether. August supports Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, which unlocks the door automatically as you approach the front door or locks it as you leave the home.

 

Prevent Any Accidents

Safety of your home is as important as its security. Unfortunately disasters such as gas, water leakage threaten our safety at home, regardless of where we are. Luckily, smart home brings together excellent tools to prevent such accidents. Nest Protect smoke detector is an intelligent smoke alarm that does a great job telling apart smoke from steam. When you are away, it can send you automatic updates when the smoke levels are high. A smart moisture detector can detect any instances of water leakages and provide instant notification on your smartphone.

Home security camera by Nest.
Bluetooth connected locks eliminate the need for a key.

Talk to your home

As much as we heavily depict the smart home concept as a unified way to control, automate and integrate your home, there are also big picture revolutions that will shape the future of our lifestyles at home. Control interfaces are possibly going to go through a huge transformation as well. Currently, our window into controlling our home is smartphones or tablets. In the future, however, it is very likely we are going to omit these physical touch-based interfaces for good, to replace with something much more unique and personal. Your voice. There are great experiments revolving around the idea of controlling your home just by talking. No interfaces, no buttons.

There are currently two different companies offering voice control on smart home. First one is Apple’s HomeKit platform, which not only streamlines integration of home technologies to be controlled on your iPhone, but also offers the ability to control your household technologies by voice. Siri, Apple’s notorious AI assistant, recently got the capability to control your home as well. Just by speaking to your phone, using phrases such as  “Turn on the dinner mode”, “Close down the drapes in the bedroom”, “Set the temperature to 30 degrees”; you are able to get things done.

The second company that offers voice control in smart homes is Amazon. Amazon recently unveiled their new smart assistant called Echo, which is a simple wireless speaker with 360-degree microphone. Echo plans to be the central hub to control your entire home and organise your daily life; all through just hands-free communication. Currently supporting integration with Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon and Wink; Amazon Echo plans to expand their integration with even more home electronics, getting one step closer to truly connected voice-controlled home.

Smart home with voice control.

Enjoy a Smarter Kitchen

Kitchens and our cooking experiences are also getting their fair share of the blessing that is the smart home. Now, we have smart refrigerators and stoves that can integrate with your smart home. Luxury kitchen appliances maker Subzero & Wolf aim to do exactly that, a kitchen that is well-integrated. By integrating with the home automation systems Crestron or Control4, smart stoves and ovens can notify you when the oven reaches the necessary temperature, when the timer completes or when the meal on stove is finished cooking. Smart fridges can adjust the cooling power based on the time of the day. This comes especially handy before you host a party at home and you need a lot of ice instantly.

If you are hardcore coffee fan, a smart home can help you get your dose of java easily. Scanomat’s Topbrewer is an advanced coffee maker that can be controlled via an iPad app. What’s amazing about Topbrewer is its design. Most of the device is safely hidden away, apart from a single tap on the countertop that looks just like a regular a water tap. You just need to place a cup, pick your coffee from the app and let Topbrewer do its magic.

Smart kitchen appliances by Subzero and Wolf
iPad controlled coffee machine.