A decade ago, the thought of controlling your home’s appliances, lights or thermostat from anywhere on the planet via a smartphone seemed like the stuff of futuristic science-fiction movies.
Fast-forward to today, however, and it’s clear we are in a smart-home tech boom.
A report by Telsyte revealed that in 2018 the average Australian household now has 17.1 connected devices and this figure will jump to 37, or 381 million devices nationally, by 2022.
While for now the smart home world is largely driven by smart speakers, home hubs, thermostats and appliances, the homes of the future are set to blow us away.
REA Group Chief Inventor Nigel Dalton counts pet-monitoring systems, wireless and completely integrated homes among the features that will become commonplace in the smart homes of the future.
“Smart home tech also makes a lot of sense for older people and folk with disabilities like eyesight issues, since all they need to do is talk to their appliances. It’s genius,” Nigel says.
Here we take a look at eight things you can expect to see in the smart homes of tomorrow.
Those with furry friends can rest assured that in the future it’ll be easier to keep an eye on pets.
“Now there’s no need to lose touch with your dog while you’re at work,” says Nigel. “Just open your mobile phone app, check them out, chat to them and maybe even toss them a dog treat.”
In the future, complete integration of technology, tools, monitoring systems and appliances in smart homes will be prominent. As will completely wireless homes.
“I recently visited a 10-year-old ‘smart-home’ with LCD panels controlling everything. It was a great reminder to never wire anything in permanently, it was dated, clunky and so embarrassing,” says Nigel.
“Whether it’s security systems, music, TV, lighting, or pet minding that you connect to the cloud, in the future, it’ll all be about keeping it wireless.”
We’re already seeing smart home tech pop up in the world of energy monitoring. Take the ‘AGL Skill’ which, with help from Alexa, lets you check your balance, track your usage and stay on top of your energy bills – simply by asking your Amazon Echo device the question.
The future will step it up a notch, too. For instance, just as our cars tell us when we need to fill up with petrol or the engine needs some attention, in the years to come, our homes are sure to speak to us about which appliances are using energy unnecessarily.
Not too far off are zones that offer multiple lighting schemes in one room, sensors that switch lights on as you move throughout your home, as well as integrate with entertainment systems (hello lights that automatically dim when Netflix boots up).
Whether you’re buying a house in the future or are building from the ground up, these are just some of the features you should look at when setting up your home’s lighting.
As we make the move to completely wireless and fully integrated homes, there are bound to be some Mission: Impossible-style security additions, too.
Think facial recognition software allowing keyless entry into a home, apps that allow you to log on and monitor your home’s security from anywhere in the world, along with easy connectedness to your home’s network.
Forget simply checking that each room in a home has a power socket in a convenient location.
When shopping for a home in the future, you should check for smart power boards that can detect when something is not in use and cut off the power to it.
According to AGL, research points to as much as 10% of the energy used in an average Australian home being wasted by appliances left on standby and not actively used, so smart power boards will be a welcome addition.
In a surprising twist, it looks like toilets are, surprisingly, set to become quite futuristic, too!
There are already options from Japan that take a urinalysis and can inform people about certain health concerns.
Other features will include automated deodorises, heaters and flushes – and much more.
We can expect closets of the future to be like the Clueless wardrobe meets The Jetsons. Or, in other words, the wardrobe to end all wardrobes.
With a growing trend toward connected and integrated homes, thermostats that communicate with wardrobes are likely.
They would work by communicating weather data with your wardrobes and then suggest appropriate outfits for your day. It’s possible they might also connect with your calendar and offer up combos appropriate for your schedule.
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