Smart Homes

The future has come! We are looking beyond the inventions of the early 20th Century that have now become a dominant part of our lives. Specifically, we’re talking about the smart phone, smart TVs and the smart car. This article will give you some insight to what a smart home is, what it does, how it benefits you and how it could improve the value of your home.

So, what is a smart home? Basically a smart home does things automatically that you used to have to do manually. Imagine a house that runs on a schedule that operates around your daily routines. You might set you’re air-conditioning so that when you come home from work, your house is cooled or heated to suit your comfort, the lights are on and when you walk through the door you’re updated on the news & weather. A smart home is, basically, a house that you live in that uses controlled automation systems.

A lot of smart home products can be run through your computer, tablet or mobile phone using online applications. You can also link a lot of your smart home appliances through devices like Google Home so you can set voice commands. Now you’re probably wondering what kinds of functions a smart home actually does? The list includes operating your:

  • Television
  • Sound systems
  • Security cameras
  • Roller shutters
  • Heating/cooling
  • Lighting
  • Locks
  • Blinds
  • Reticulation
  • Kitchen & laundry appliances

You can literally control all of this through a device, most commonly, a mobile phone. An alternative to your phone could be a device like Google Home that you can control it verbally, “Hey Google, dim the lounge room lights,” for example, this can be done using the Philips Hue lights. You could also turn your house on or shut it down when you go to bed all via voice commands. You may want to integrate this turn on/shut down command with your roller shutters, television and front/rear locks, all operating automatically while you get warm under your blankets.

A smart home isn’t just useful for when you’re at home, but also for when you’re away. If you have a garden, you can check the weather and set your sprinklers accordingly. You can check your security cameras and open your roller shutters and blinds for any house plants. You can even get a video doorbell (such as the Ring Video Doorbell) which will ring your phone when pressed by a visitor and you can view and talk to whoever is at your door, which is great for things such as package deliveries.

The benefit of a smart home isn’t just convenience, but also to give you peace of mind. For example, you can check, did you turn off that light? Did you lock the door? Or leave the oven on? Having this kind of convenience isn’t just something for people with a busy schedule, but it brings a large amount of independence to the sick or disabled in the form of using voice commands to make things a bit easier.

There are some downsides to smart homes though. Decking out your house in the latest and best smart home products could cost thousands and whilst your purchases might stand the test of time, technology doesn’t stop evolving. Within a few years of purchase there is a high chance that the technology you previously bought will be out of date and the desire to upgrade for the latest features will hurt your hip pocket. Other downsides could be the products failing after your warranty runs out and needing replacement and of course power outages mean our electronics are useless.

Despite the pros and cons, the reality is that having a smart home could be a huge feature when selling. Because smart homes are still an exclusive luxury, the products aren’t in every home yet and at most people only have a Google Home that might connect to their Chromecast devices, smart TVs or Bluetooth speakers (all of which will go with them when they move house). So, when you decide to sell and your real estate agent is demonstrating the convenience of automation to your prospective buyers, doing so could increase the sale price and make for competition amongst various groups. A good idea would be to install solar panels on the roof too. There is a chance when selling that people will ask how much all these smart home accessories add onto the electricity bill. Side note: having solar panels also adds the charm of being environmentally friendly while also being conscious of your power bill.

If you do decide to upgrade your property into a smart home make sure you budget accordingly and consider prioritising the products most likely to impact your lifestyle. We recommend researching the products, reading reviews, contacting several retailers (check customer reviews for them as well) and move forward from there. In the end you will have an innovative and convenient home ready to impress.