It’s not just our phones and our computers that are getting smarter – for some time now, our homes have been getting more intelligent as well. Where once upon a time home technology related to individual items, now smart homes are based around integrated technologies – where a ‘brain’ is built into the central nervous system of the property, allowing an ecosystem to unfold around it to deliver the highest levels of living.
Amongst those leading the smart home space are DALI and Lutron, both of whom specialise in smart lighting control. Both offer interfaces that allow you to customise and organise home functionality from timing when the lights come on, to automating when the curtains draw themselves. The result is a home that’s a living organism with flexible connections that – and here’s the lynchpin – are designed to evolve over time as technology upgrades.
The level of detail, experience and even security that smart technology can add into the home has entered a new sphere of excellence. For one of our clients, a tech savvy San Francisco based owner with a London bolthole, technology was the key to slick design and entertainment opportunities. On the one hand, strategically placed lighting has been choreographed to change colour in order to adjust the mood for different occasions. On the other hand, tech optimises security for the remote proprietor, with a handleless front door where the handle only appears at the touch of their own fingerprint.
The home tech opportunities are endless, constantly enhancing the aesthetics as well as the experience of the home, and considering both aspects in tandem. Invisible charging points, kitchen hobs built into the worktops, appliances that operate on voice command, ovens that take over the cooking with integrated cameras so you can keep an eye on dinner, and dishwashers that will reorder their own product refills. Smart tech doesn’t stop at appliances either. Style is being further enabled by smart paints and fabrics that can change colour and effectively transform the look and feel of a space on a whim.
Optimising the user experience
The compatibility of this infrastructure with all appliances is a vital part of its success – homeowners are not obligated to stick to a particular brand – you can mix and match so you still have exactly what you want in your home. For optimal intuition and user experience, it’s then all controlled from a tablet or interface monitor – whether you’re at home or want to make something happen remotely. Achieving that efficiency and seamlessness, requires installation by Smart home certified specialists.
The changing expertise needed to maximise smart technology in the home is multifaceted and not limited to installation. This ultra slick tech is a wonderful enabler for reducing clutter and maximising the sense of wellbeing, but it also means that understanding the science of space is essential.
More than ever the flow of each room matters – how it’s used, where the power sources are, the light switches and how the owner seeks to use it. In a home designed for total seamlessness, hidden features become even more important. For example, the strategic interior design of storage capabilities with the likes of Siematic’s internal systems that optimise the organisation of drawers and cupboards for usability.
From a design perspective, that means considering tech right at the starting point of a project – it’s not a finishing touch, but as fundamental as the beams and blocks that the space is constructed from. As a case in point, we no longer opt for on/off wiring as standard; we go for multiple power feeds so the house can communicate with appliances at will. The DALI Type 8 is a favourite – a single driver that controls two or more outputs for multiple functionality as well as savings on cost and complexity.
Sci-fi is the new normal
In the luxury home market, this kind of high functioning smart system is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘need to have’. It’s not simply square footage and stylish finishes that define a luxury property, but the inbuilt tech capabilities – don’t ask what you can do for your home, but what can your home do for you? – one might say. Sci-fi is the new normal, and as GenZ comes of age, this high tech lifestyle moves further and further into the realms of everyday aspirations, making its inclusion in design a key feature for future proofing the value and desirability of your home.
The reason for smart tech’s role in the long-term desirability of your home, is not about the technology itself, but what it offers our lifestyles. The benefits of this kind of gadgetry are not limited to wow factor and novelty, but driving optimal home experiences that fundamentally impact our quality of life. These are the changes that give us more time to work smarter not harder, time to exercise around demanding careers, time with our families, time to eat better amidst busy schedules rather than grabbing fast food and time for our own mental and physical health.
In short, tech could be giving us a key to having it all – it’s just up to us to choose how to use it.