Smart homes: Much more than a simple gimmick

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home life: Radically altered by technology.

IT began with smart phones, then we had tablets and the smart tv, smart watches, smart whiteboards in the classroom, and now we have smart homes.

For those who have luckily managed to avoid the ongoing fanfare of technological advances (and probably save a bit of money in the long run), smart technologies are an advanced form of interactive computing which you can personally adapt to your needs.

With smart homes, however, it becomes much more than a simple gimmick like a fitness tracker on your phone, the technology can radically alter your home life and is completely under your control if you can withstand the publicity.

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A smart home is a networked home, with multiple devices linked wirelessly to an outside hub, which can monitor household rhythms to optimise or personalise the inside environment. 

Examples would be a thermometer which learns about your energy usage and takes measures to ensure you never spend more than necessary, or a smart meter which switches on washing machines when the cost per unit is at its lowest. 

Outside devices can monitor weather reports and adapt watering systems appropriately, or check acidity levels and email you when the pH needs upping. 

Smart fridges can alter temperatures depending on the contents and let you know when a particular item is running out, while smart beds can monitor your sleeping patterns and wake you up at precisely the right moment to enhance your morning energy. 

The so-called ‘Internet of things’ is already upon us, with 13 per cent of UK homes already having one or more of these devices, expected to rise to 69 per cent by 2019. 

There are of course privacy matters inherent in this new era. The smart course of action would be to avoid becoming entirely reliant on such technology, or give away too much control to outside agencies. 

In the not so far away future, however, this may be more easily said than done. 

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