If you had told people about the kind of home technology we have today ten years ago, they wouldn’t have believed you. The progress over the last decade has been nothing short of extraordinary. You can now address devices in your home in the same way that the Star Trek crew spoke to the ship’s computer, asking it for things like the weather, the number of planets in the solar system, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Given the pace of progress, many people are now wondering how much further things might develop in the next few years. Time magazine recently took a swing at it. They pointed out that there are now companies working on AI technologies that will track your behaviour and learn your habits, and then adjust your home accordingly, automating all your processes.
Others are also investing heavily in robots that can do household chores for you. By the end of the decade, robot assistants could become reality, ushering in a massive new market.
Installing all of these new electronics into homes will require the best electrician services available. But it’s an exciting time for everyone. Finally, our homes are going to catch up with the rest of technology and become genuinely futuristic in their own right.
In this post, we take a look at some of the smart home upgrades available today that make you feel like you’re living in the future.
Smart Leak Detectors
Fire alarms, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms have been around for years. That’s because they use old-school sensors to detect heat, smoke and gases. Leak detectors, however, are a different story. Building the technology to make such systems possible has taken many years. And it’s only possible now because of how much AI is improving.
The average household wastes a whopping 10,000 gallons of water every year, mainly due to leaks. Sometimes, this excess water can get into the foundations, weakening them and causing subsidence – not what you want.
Leak detectors, however, use ultrasonic technology to detect leaks through walls and floors, alerting you immediately if something is remiss. This way, you can deal with a leak rapidly, before it causes issues for the rest of your home.
Smart lighting isn’t the most recent smart home technology, but it is one of the most eclectic.
For instance, you can now hook up your smart lighting to home assistant devices, such as Alexa or Google home and use voice commands to turn it on and off. You can also get smart bulbs which automatically switch on and off, depending on whether you need them or not. If you install Bluetooth lightbulbs, you can also control them from your smartphone.
Smart plugs might sound like a bit of a gimmick, but they can lead to tremendous improvements in your peace of mind. The way they work is pretty simple. Like normal plugs, they fit into the wall and provide your appliances with power. However, they also come with wireless receivers that allow you to switch them off remotely. So if you go to bed and forget to turn the TV off at the wall, you don’t have to trudge downstairs to do it manually. Instead, you just flip open your app and do it remotely.
Smart plugs are a great way to help you save money too. Instead of leaving all your electronics on standby all night long, you can set your smart plug power strip to switch off automatically during hours you know you’re not going to use it.
Smart Airconditioning Units
What are smart air conditioning units, we hear you ask? Well, the concept is actually quite simple. While they are quite new to the smart home market, they are growing in popularity rapidly.
The most basic smart HVACs allow you to switch them on and off from your phone, turning your device into a sort of remote control. More advanced units, however, have programmable settings. And some even have software that allows them to integrate with other smart features of your home, such as your lighting.
For instance, suppose that you want to get up when the sun rises, instead of to the drum beat of an alarm clock. Usually, you’d have to set your air conditioning manually. But some smart versions connect to your lighting. So the moment you say, “Alexa, turn on my light,” the air conditioning will immediately flip to your morning setting. How good is that?
Please note that there’s a difference between smart air conditioning units and portable versions. Smart units usually fit into the fabric of your home, while portable varieties don’t.
Air Quality Monitors
Do you sometimes worry about the air quality in your home. Well, if you do, you’ll want to get a smart air quality monitor.
These devices work by tracking air as it goes through them. They look out for potentially harmful substances, such as volatile organic compounds, and immediately warn you if there are any in your vicinity.
The great thing about smart air quality monitors is that they actually tell you the quantity of unwanted particles in the environment. So you can tell whether you’re at a safe level or not.
Energy Usage Monitors
Most smart thermostats now provide a real-time energy usage monitor. But not all do. And for people living in rented accommodation, that can be a problem. You can’t just rip out the old central heating system and install a new one of your choice. That might annoy the landlord.
The solution is to install an energy usage monitor. These small devices fit into your main power circuit and tell you how much energy you’re using and what it’s likely to cost. Mostly, utility companies themselves provide these units, although you can buy aftermarket versions as well.
As you might expect, many of them connect to apps on your phone, allowing you to see just how much energy you’re using in any given period. They also provide a readout of how much you’ve spent during any given day – helpful if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
Nothing’s more annoying than spending hours of your time every day vacuuming. It would be so much easier if a robot did it for you. Well, thanks to smart vacuums, your prayers have been answered. These robot-like devices scurry across your floors methodically, sucking up dirt and hair as they go along.
Some of these vacuums are much smarter than you might think. For instance, companies are now making models that can find their own way back to their charging stations when they need to refuel. They also integrate with home assistants, allowing you to tell them to start cleaning remotely.
Smart clocks aren’t the most exciting example of smart home technology, but they do come in handy, especially if you live in a part of the world where the clocks change regularly. Instead of taking the clock off the wall and changing the position of the dial, these devices do it automatically for you. They can also sync with your calendar, telling you whether you have an appointment or are late for work.
Imagine if your house kept an eye on you while you slept, just to make sure that you were healthy. Well, now such technology exists. They’re called smart sleep monitors, and they provide you with regular reports and updates on your wellbeing.
Usually, the smart monitor goes under your bed sheets. It contains a bunch of sensors that monitor your sleep cycles and routines, and provides you with a report in the morning.
Interestingly, it can also tell you the best times for you to go to bed and wake up, according to the data it collects. And it can let you know if you have any night time conditions, such as sleep apnea, that might need the attention of a doctor.
Smart Coffee Machines
Modern coffee machines are great. But the smart varieties are even better. If you work to a schedule, you can program these to prepare your coffee for you, without even having to push any buttons. You simply walk downstairs at the appropriate time, and your steaming cup of coffee is there, waiting for you to take your first sip.
Smart Key Fobs
Are you the sort of person who is prone to misplacing their house keys? If so, you’ll love smart key fobs. These clever devices are essentially small radio receivers that fit to your keyring. When you call them, they make a ringing sound, a little but like a telephone, allowing you to locate your keys quickly.
Smart keyfobs are cheap too, so they are well worth the investment.
You can also get smart locks that allow you to let people into your home remotely. So, suppose you’re at work when the maid arrives. You can use your smartphone to unlock the door from the office, instead of handing over a pair of keys – a potential security risk.