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Technology in the smart homes of tomorrow

Smart technology is revolutionising the way we protect our properties. We discover how…

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not a new concept – having been subtly making its way into our lives for some time through new, hi-tech household appliances. But until now, the idea of intelligent devices actually being woven into the very fabric of our homes – as opposed to existing as a convenient add-on for the more tech-savvy among us – has belonged in the realm of geeks.    

Amazon’s Echo has changed all that. This smart speaker uses voice recognition to keep you updated on the latest news, travel and weather. But it doesn’t end there: the Echo’s virtual personal assistant Alexa can control your music system, heating thermostat and even your lighting. She can also create grocery shopping lists, order online, read audiobooks and work as an alarm. 

Such accessible technology is already bringing about a step change in the way we secure our homes – with smart lighting, doorbells and locks already on the market that make it harder for thieves to target our properties.   

Looking to the future, here we look at technology such as drones and artificial intelligence that will be integrated into our homes making them even smarter and safer:

 

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Air Quality

Connected homes will incorporate both moisture and air quality sensors, alerting you via your smartphone to possible leaks or floods, as well as the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide.

  

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Artificial Intelligence

Having ‘learned’ your ‘at-home’ routine, your heating and lighting will automatically go on ahead of expected arrival times. Plus, any unusual activity will trigger monitors and an alarm.

  

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Front Doors

Doorbell cameras will enable you to interact with visitors from anywhere – either by two-way communication or sounding an alarm. Voice control or eye readers will be used for entry, avoiding the risk of stolen keys being used. Facial recognition by doorbells or virtual assistants will also be able to send parents notifications when their children arrive home from school.

 

Image representing Lighting

Lighting

Safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand with smart light monitors that switch off illumination when they do not sense anybody in the room. If you are security conscious, LED bulb cameras can also be installed, streaming footage of any intruders to tablets and smartphones via Wi-Fi.

 

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Window and shutters

Energy-saving shutters and glass will offer your home protection from sudden weather changes, as well as managing heat efficiency. These window coverings will also act as a deterrent and additional barrier for any would-be burglar. Shutters can be opened and closed via voice command or app, but any external opening of a shutter or window will trigger an alarm.

 

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External Spaces

As soon as anyone sets foot on your property a motion-sensitive device will immediately activate – monitoring their movements and sending you a notification to your smartphone and/or a security firm’s system. It’s likely that live footage is already being recorded, with night vision making it easy to capture good quality film after dark. But just for good measure, some LED floodlights will be triggered too, along with a two-way communication or an alarm siren. Some homes will go a step further, using the latest gadget, remote drones, which are summoned as soon as an intruder steps foot on your property.

  

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Pipes

Smart water detectors search out any leaks or danger of freezing, sending out an alert before any serious damage occurs. Mould, mildew and other signs of damp will also be subject to detection. Many pipes will also include a valve or switch enabling you or a virtual personal assistant to immediately shut off the problem.

 

Image representing How to make your home smarter

How to make your home smarter

You might think you’re not tech-savvy enough to have a smart home or that it’s way out of your budget, but the good news is that as the technology evolves and becomes more popular, the prices will drop and it will become more accessible. Listed below are a few pieces of tech that won’t necessarily break the bank…

Image representing An all-round solution

An all-round solution

Panasonic Smart Home allows you to control and monitor your home from your smartphone or tablet. Whether it’s keeping an eye on your home while you’re away, turning your lighting, heating and appliances on and off, or working as a security alarm, you can scale and adapt this product to suit your needs and budget. http://www.panasonic.com/uk/

Image representing Keeping your bills down

Keeping your bills down

The WeMo Insight Switch connects your home appliances and electronic devices to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to turn your devices on and off and keep an eye on your energy usage. This is ideal if you want to monitor energy guzzlers like wall heaters, washing machines and tumble dryers. It also works with Amazon’s Alexa. http://www.belkin.com/uk/

Image representing The ultimate door lock

The ultimate door lock

The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Lock allows you to lock and unlock your door using your smartphone, a PIN code or a key card. The beauty is you can choose who does and doesn’t have access to your home. For example, you can set a PIN code that works for 24 hours for a tradesperson. http://www.yalestore.co.uk

  

Keeping your smart home secure

With all your home appliances connected to the internet you might be worried about your data security. Here are three measures to take to stop your home from being hacked… 

Use unique passwords – if an appliance comes with a default password update it immediately as hackers can easily find these on online forums.  

Complete security updates – smart home devices don’t update automatically so ensure you check for and download any updates on a monthly basis.

Use two-step authentication – many websites and apps offer two-step authentication where you can input a security key or one-time code, as well as your password. This will help keep unknown users out of smart devices and apps.

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