Making Your Home Smart
Although Disney’s Smart House (1999) seemed like a far off future when it was released, technological advancement in home appliances has made the possibility of a fully automated home more and more plausible. Here’s a few tips and home improvement ideas to help you keep up with these trends.
Buy What You Would Use
We’ve all been drawn into buying new tech simply because it’s quirky, but an important thing to be aware of is whether or not you would actually use that tech consistently and in the long-term. Many pages on Facebook advertise unique twists on mundane tasks, from magnetic scrubbers to portable food pouches, but their actual usefulness is limited, and eventually these gadgets get lost in the house with every other infomercial gadget or piece of Tupperware.
When seeking out new tech with which to upgrade your home, make sure that you go for items you could see yourself using every day. If you don’t own a dog, don’t buy that “really cool” automated fetch toy that might be fun for two days. If you have kids that come home before you do, investing in a remote-operated door-lock may be the right choice.
Less is More
The trend in home automation is interconnectivity. Technology exists today that links an entire house’s speaker system to one control pad, and eventually that same control pad will be able to close the garage door, turn up the thermostat, dim the lights in the living room, and reorder groceries. As such, you don’t want to buy a myriad of automated home devices that each perform a specific function, only for those specialized devices to be made obsolete by more comprehensive ones.
When looking into automating certain processes in your home, think of ways that these processes could be bundled together. As mentioned before, environmental control (sound, temperature, lighting) can be considered one home function, while home maintenance (vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing) could be another, separate function. Find one control system that integrates all or most aspects of environmental control, one automated cleaner that takes care of all your floor-cleaning needs, etc.
Like integration between one’s smart phone and laptop, integration between one’s home devices is streamlined when those devices are of the same brand or operating system. Although there are downsides to relying on one company for all of your needs, it brings many benefits along with it as well. Buying one brand directs all of your questions and concerns to one customer service outlet, and if most of your tech is from the same brand, they’re all likely to be updated on similar schedules. Having one brand in the house can also make it easier to upgrade from old to new models or to introduce new devices into your home-system.
Think About Security
One of the most important ways in which you can introduce automation into your home is through security. A motion-based alarm system is a step in the right direction, but current technology provides us with the tools to secure and monitor our homes with the touch of a button. Remote-operated locks are one manifestation of this trend, but another is surveillance technology capable of monitoring typical home activity and alerting the homeowner to changes in that activity. Additionally, prioritizing security is especially important if you’re filling your home with new gadgets. You’ll want to make sure that they’re as secure as possible.
Although technology still has some ways to go before you or your children are completely free from doing chores, staying on top of these trends and having these tips in mind when researching home improvement will give you an edge and allow you to accelerate towards a more chore-free future.