What Smart Home Technology Should You Be Fitting In Your New Home?

installation, fibre, broadband, home technologyOne way out of the current housing crisis, the most obvious one some would say, is simply to increase the housing stock with affordable new homes so that people on median incomes can afford to put down roots and set up a home of their own. There are currently many brownfield sites both inside and skirting towns and cities throughout the UK which would benefit enormously from the stimulus of having housing available to people who are currently spending up to half their income on rent. But what does this have to do with Smart Home Technology Solutions?

While this housing stock will need to be build with cost savings in mind, it will also need to have technology which will adapt as future needs change. No builder today would forego wiring or pipework on the understanding that “if anybody wants running water or electricity they can put it in themselves!” And equally builders, architects and specifiers need to start thinking about media in the same terms.

Buildings Of The Future Need To Be Future-proof

Britain has a commitment to providing superfast broadband to anyone who wants it by 2020, but it’s of limited value if it stops at the front gate and the home isn’t prepared for accepting everything that it affords.

So what should the Home Of The Future have built in to be ready for this Superfast internet revolution?
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Kitting Out Your First Smart Home? Start With The Basics

We’ve all been there. We’re browsing online, popped into a shop or visited an exhibition stand at the mall only to be pulled in by a great looking ad or snappy sales patter, then coming away with a bit of tat masquerading as tech that never gets used.

You get it home, open the packaging, set it up and find that it’s nothing like as good as you thought it would be, it’s cheaply made, poorly performing and probably makes a funny smell if you leave it switched on too long. But you’re ashamed of yourself for being tricked, so, instead of sending it back and asking for your money back it just falls into redundancy or gets put in the cupboard under the sink/stairs/attic or garage in the hopes that you’ll either find a use for it or give it to the jumble next time they come looking for collections.

The problem is that the more technology which is available to go into our homes, the more rubbish there is blocking our view of the good, helpful gadgets and tools which would help make life that much easier. And different people have different needs. We’re sold on ‘lifechanging appliances’ but unless we actively want to change the way we live our lives, a bit of tech we can pick up for a few pounds at the supermarket isn’t going to make a huge difference to our lifestyle. Read more

Is Your Smart Home Really Smart Without Sensors To Tell It What’s Going On?

If you’re a recent convert to Smart Home automation you may be starting to think “well this isn’t all that smart at all, is it? I still have to tell Alexa everything I’m doing before she’ll help me with anything!” and you’d be right. But only because you’ve got Alexa’s ears set up, without sensors’ she’s got no eyes.

A truly Smart home system relies on sensors to be able to work efficiently. Sensors feed data back to the Home Hub enabling it to make decisions and obey commands which would have been set up in order to make the Smart Home system integrated and intelligent.

There are a wide range of sensors which will serve various different purposes, from fire and smoke detectors to thermostats and motion sensors which will tell your hub not only when you enter a room, but when an intruder breaks into your home. Making use of these sensors as part of the everyday home hub utility will vastly improve the intelligence of the system since you won’t have to tell it directly what you want to happen, and make you safer since you will be able to rely on your home hub to react to changes such as movement, smoke, fire, or gas and water leaks. Read more

Smart Sensors Offer So Much More Than Security

sensors. alarms, automation, security, We talk a lot about “Home Automation” and then go on to speak about how we can control our home environment via our apps, computer, control panel or voice, but surely that’s negating the entire ethos of ‘Automated’? For a full automated home you need sensors. With a little time and patience when setting up you can let your sensors take care of many of the mundane tasks which you do every day. Tie them in with Smart or If This Then That (IFTTT) devices then the simplicity and elegance of a fully automated home is on the horizon.

There are a range of different sensors which detect one, several, or many of the following:

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Movement
  • Other specific Smart devices
  • Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide

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Smart Advantages Make Life Easier For People With Disabilities.

As we age we have to accept that we generally start to lose our faculties. It’s natural and accepted that our hearing will go, our eyesight will become weak and our cognitive skills will also be less sharp from our middle age onwards, compared to our youth. Spectacles and hearing aids are no longer the cumbersome, unattractive ‘utility over aesthetic’ devices they once were. Now they not only serve their primary function of helping your see and hear, they look stylish (or are virtually invisible) and actively improve on what nature gave us. 

My case in point here is Smart hearing aids and Smart glasses. I recently went to stay with family and noticed my uncle has Smart hearing aids. I’m not certain he’s got the hang of them yet as he was watching TV very low and told us off for talking too loud while we were watching England snatch victory from certain defeat at the hands of New Zealand. Read more

The Biggest Threats To Safety In The Home

Home, by definition, is a place where your can feel safe. A place to relax and unwind without being worried or stressed by the everyday troubles of the outside world.Coming home and relaxing isn’t always possible though. There are always safety concerns that it would be remiss to ignore. In the UK there are an average of 2.7 million visits to Accident and Emergency and 6,000 deaths due to accidents. Along with these accidents there are 650,000 break-ins each year. That means that 2% of homes every year have intruders break in and damage or steal goods from the householders.

Some groups are more vulnerable than others. The elderly and infirm are prone to accidents and it’s important that if you take extra special care of your home security and personal safety.

People who wish to ‘age in place’ have a number of options today which weren’t available until very recently. Sheltered housing may have had call buttons and alarms in the bathroom in case of slips or falls, but adaptations for the home were normally restricted to additional handrails and ramps for people who had trouble with steps. Personal alerts in the form of a fob worn around the neck were available, but if you weren’t wearing it when you slipped they weren’t much use. Read more

The Best Ways To Ensure Your Home Deliveries Don’t Go Astray

Before the internet the Royal Mail used to do a roaring trade delivering letters over night anywhere in the country, and within days to anywhere in the rest of the world. Then email came about and a letter became something of an anachronism, the only letters we seem to get regularly are bills and junk mail. Because of the decline in letter sending services were streamlined and rationalised, ie, cuts were made and deliveries suffered. The Post Office was privatised and the delivery service was opened up to tender.

But the internet wasn’t finished in changing the way we live our lives just yet. Online shopping became not just a novelty, but the preferred way to get hold of the things we’d normally have to hunt around the shops for. No more trolling up and down the high street looking for a product which may or may not be in stock. Instead we can now search for an item, order it and know when (roughly) it’s going to be delivered from anywhere at any time. Which naturally meant that the delivery business was going to see a huge increase in business. Read more

Is Your Home Security Butch Enough To Baffle Burglars?

Keeping your home, family, property and person safe is a priority for anyone, but are you doing enough to ensure your security is a deterrent to prevent burglary?

While it’s impossible to guarantee the security of any property there are a number of reasonable and inexpensive steps you can take to ensure your home isn’t the next to be added to the local crime statistics. Some are obvious, such as keeping doors and windows locked, some are less immediately apparent, such as keeping your hedges and fences in good order, so let’s take a look at your house from the point of view of a burglar to see what they see, and what can be done about it.

Kerb Appeal

Despite common misconception, most break-ins take place in daylight and last for between 5 and 10 minutes. Burglars will be drawn to high value items which can be easily sold on, most especially things which can be easily carried, such as jewellery, cash, phones, laptops, and the like. If anyone passing can see into your home, that doors and windows aren’t secure or are old and worn, then they may be tempted to break in and take what they want. Read more

Save Time Now And Prepare For The Future With Labour Saving Smart Tech

As well as being an efficient way of protecting your home from intruders, watch the kids and talk to your pets while you’re at work, and ask questions, smart home devices are perfect for saving time and effort around the house.

We’re very much an ‘on demand’ society these day. We want everything instantly and while modern technology does its best to deliver access as soon as a whim crosses our minds, it has its limitations. And that’s where Smart Technology can come in and save the day!

There’s little worse than coming home to a cold dark house in the middle of winter. So why not let your house know when you’re on your way home and putting the heating on ready for your return? And it’s irritating when you leave home for the day and realise that you’ve left the lights or heating on, so turn it off as soon as you remember, whether that’s from the train, your desk or the airport as you fly off on your holidays.

At the shops and can’t find your list? You should have had your Smart recycling bin send you the list, but never mind, just look at the camera in the fridge and look how low the milk is getting. You can programme it to keep track of the Best Before dates too, so you always have fresh fruit & veg. This is handy for people on the go, and it’s equally handy if you’ve trouble remembering things or you care for a relative who finds it hard to get out. The reassurance you feel from knowing that their fridge is stocked takes a load off your mind. Read more

What Is A Smart Alarm System?

Man looking at an access control panel on the outside of a houseA Smart alarm system is an alarm system which connects to your home hub so it can alert you to anything, and be controlled from anywhere, so long as you have internet connection. Unlike Smart Security systems the alarms can sound on the property, making everyone aware that an emergency has been detected while security systems are designed to deter intruders and gather information such as photos and video.

Of course you can run the two concurrently so if anyone is willing to break into your property they will be caught on camera and an ear splitting alarm will also sound, hopefully making them stop and leave.

What Makes Smart Alarms Different?

The benefit Smart alarm systems have over traditional hard wired alarms is that they are often battery operated and can be installed anywhere with a simple adhesive pad or a couple of small screws. There should be no need for drilling or cabling. Because they work with your WiFi network instead of a cable phone line it’s easy to add new devices, so you can start off small and add new pieces of hardware as you see fit. Your alarms will communicate with your hub via WiFi or Bluetooth and can be controlled via an app on your phone or tablet, or on the Home Hub.

Smart alarms don’t just let you know when there’s a fire, flood or carbon monoxide emergency, because they can be operated from anywhere they let you check up on things when you’re on the go. If you just popped out but found you’re going to be away from home longer than expected, arm the security and set the alarms from wherever you are. You can also use Smart home technology to turn the heating off or even feed the pets if you have a smart feeder! Read more