The Smart House: Technology and Our Homes

There is no doubt we are living in rapidly changing times. Advances in technology over the last twenty years mean children are as likely to learn from a tablet as a book, many of us can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and we monitor our health and wellbeing with fitness trackers no bigger than a watch.

The impact of these advances can be seen in our homes. There are now devices that make our home life easier and more convenient with the added benefit of lowering our impact on the environment.

We look at some of the most popular home automation devices and how they can work together to create a smart house:

1. Smart Metering

Ever get a slip through your door to say your electricity supplier called to read your meter but they missed you? That is soon to be a thing of the past as Ireland rolls out smart metering to all houses in 2019.

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a device that allows your electricity and gas consumption to be measured in real time. Some benefits we are likely to see are:

  • Increased awareness of the electricity you use
  • Time of use energy pricing; you are charged less for energy used in low demand hours
  • No need to submit meter readings
  • Better understanding of what devices use most energy
  • Savings on energy costs over a year

2. Smart thermostat

Hate arriving home to a cold house? Install a smart thermostat and you never have to leave your coat on in the house again.

What is a smart thermostat? 

A standard thermostat allows you to control the temperature in your home, usually by adjusting a dial on the wall. A smart thermostat provides you with complete control over your home heating no matter where you are through an app on your phone. The thermostat can be set to adjust over the day, higher in the mornings, lower while you are out at work and increasing when you return home. Smart thermostats will also adjust according to the weather and show you exactly how much energy you have used. You never need to worry about leaving the immersion on again in your smart house – once you have your phone, internet connection and a smart thermostat you can switch it off from anywhere in the world.

3. Smart cleaning 

Over time the humble vacuum may become a thing of the past as robots take over this chore. A small cylinder, not much bigger than a dinner plate can roll around our house while you sleep, making sure floors are spick and span when you wake up. This smart device will map your home on its first run and many will allow you to draw no-go areas so it doesn’t knock over your priceless Ming vase! Like other connected devices you can operate your robot cleaner through an app on your phone. Many will find their way back to their charger once they have finished cleaning.

4. Smart security 

Last but not least the connected world could revolutionise security in our smart houses. Although most of us are currently reliant on traditional methods of home security. This to could change with the connected home. There are monitoring systems available both professionally installed and monitored or DIY that will allow you see what is happening at home using a smart phone or tablet.

This list is only the tip of the smart house ice-burg, almost every conceivable appliance can be made smarter when it is connected to the web. We are likely to see the most benefit when we use several devices together to have a fully connected home and while that may be some years before that is common, we are well on the way with smart assistants like Amazon Echo that can group together a range of devices and allow them to work in tandem.

Smart homes and the increased volume of data that they can provide may help your insurance company make more accurate calculations of risk, resulting in lower premiums. If your home insurance is up for renewal, whether you have a smart home or not, get a quote today.


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