Smart Homes Are The Future of Architecture.

Over recent years the number of people taking up Smart Home Technology has increased exponentially. As digital has penetrated all areas of our lives, from TV and radio to phones, cameras, and audio players the more we expect from it. Once upon a time ‘home automation’ used to mean a thermostat on the wall which would conveniently turn the heating on when it got too cold and being able to set the video to record a show if you were out.

Today, with smart home automation, that’s the bare minimum we’d expect from the products we introduce into our homes. If your heating doesn’t know when you’re home or when you’re out, and your TV box doesn’t record entire series’ of your favourite shows when they’re on a number of channels all at the same time it’s like living in the stone age! In fact we’ve grown so accustomed to devices which work autonomously, from vacuum cleaners to doorbells which can recognise who’s coming to the door and let them in or keep them out that there seems to be nothing that Smart Home Technology won’t be able to do in the future, even if it can’t do it today.

In the same way that it’s now impossible to dream of designing a building which doesn’t have power cables, water and gas pipework, it will also soon be inconceivable that a building can be designed without home automation in mind as well.

Home automation can add to quality of life too. Smart technology in the form of light bulbs can come on incrementally, mimicking sunrise using light at the blue end of the spectrum in order to wake us gently but surely, guaranteeing a good morning. Conversely the can dim in the evening, increasing the amount of red light which triggers the production of melatonin, the hormone which makes us sleepy. In terms of aiding sleep and relaxation, communications can be controlled too. You’ll have already joined the Telephone Preference Service to block sales and marketing calls, but your home phone can also be programmed to mute calls after a certain hour, ensuring that only calls from your contacts will ring or trigger some other alert so that your night isn’t disturbed.

The Latest Innovation Fitted As Standard

These developments are going to become standard for homes and buildings in the future, and it’s up to architects to incorporate them into new projects at the design stage, rather than as an after thought or something that they only indulge if their clients particularly ask them for. So, by learning the core elements of the smart home automation revolution, architects can start providing a quality service ready building, whether that be a new build or renovation of an extant building.

Because all the technology is basically wireless, the core feature that architects are being asked for is improved line of sight and power supply. Routers and hubs can be ensconced so that they don’t interrupt the design, but they have to be housed in an area where they won’t overheat, they can get the power they need, and their signal won’t be blocked by conduit, cable trays or reinforced concrete.

Wireless And Cable Free Is The Way The Future Is Headed

Notwithstanding the devices we’ll be introducing to our homes will be wireless, they will still need cable. Wireless chargers still need to have a power supply, and there need to be enough of them to make being able to simply pick up and put down a device and have it always fully charged a reality.

The reality is that in future people will expect home automation more and more. From the moment they drive up to the automatic gates which will open because their car is in proximity to the moment they go to bed and tell the lights to turn themselves off people will expect ease and efficiency to be the driving force behind all the goods they have in their houses.

Ease Of Use Is Energy Efficient

It’s not just the ease of use which will drive innovation either. Saving energy means saving money, which will consequently mean less impact on the environment. As people become more conscious of their part in the global ecosystem they will want recycled and eco friendly materials, energy efficiency and recyclability built in. It may seem counter-intuitive, but Smart technology devices which naturally need power all the time to monitor and interact with the user will actually save energy as they offer much greater energy efficiency than older technology. Smart light bulbs use a fraction of the energy incandescent bulbs needed, smart thermostats save up to a third of the energy of old ones as they adjust themselves not only on time of day and ambient temperature, but whether there’s anyone in the house anyway.

So while you’re planning in photovoltaic windows and low impact concrete alternatives, think as well about how you’re going to move that energy around and how not only people, but signal is going to occupy the space.

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