Let’s set the scene,

It’s a chilly evening and you’re on your way home from work. You take your smartphone out of your bag and quickly open up the Nest app to remotely set the thermostat just a few degrees higher than usual, you feel a bit naughty, but what the heck, it’s Christmas and you want a cosy night in. Around the corner from home, with a few swipes and a tap of an app you pop the iKettle on, so you won’t have to wait for that much needed brew, and while you’re at it, you set the Phillips Hue kitchen lights to your favourite relax setting. You don’t even need to do the vacuuming, your latest vacuum cleaning robot has been working his magic all afternoon. Bliss.

 

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This is an example of the Connected Home. We now in time where home appliances can tweet, electrical accessories connect to the internet and you are the master of all, with your smartphone acting as the perfect remote control.

It used to be (and will still be the case for most of us) that all our devices connected directly. You had to turn a dial on the thermostat to change the temperature of the radiators, or type in a code to stop a burglar alarm. However, in the new connected home, devices not only connect to each other, but also to the internet. Meaning that if you’re burglar alarm does go off while you’re on holiday, you needn’t rely on neighbours to stop the ruckus. Instead, you could remotely access your security camera footage, check to make sure all is well, tap the screen and stop the alarm.

 

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In fact, currently the most popular connected home devices are security systems. You can now purchase keyless electronic door locks such as Lockitron, cameras like Dropcam for baby monitoring, and the all important Egg Minder which will urgently notify you if you need to buy new eggs. Phew!

Ok, that last example may be a little bit silly, so do we really need to invest in all this tech? What if you’re quietly comforted by your tangle of cables and remote control collection? Will you get left behind?

 

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Looking to the future, it’s clear that some housing developers imagine building connected homes from the ground up. House prices may even be influenced by the quality of the technology and services built into a house.

I just moved into an ex-council flat and I can’t tell you how much of a pain it was to discover that, not only do I have zero mobile signal, but I managed to purchase one of the only properties in the whole of the UK to not be supplied by BT. It took a long time to sort some form of internet and I admit the lack of connectivity in my house made me feel quite isolated. So, I can see how a new-build offering a fantastic security system, money saving energy management and quick connectivity would be hugely appealing.

 

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However, for now, you needn’t rush to overhaul your home. According to Frank E. Gillett, an analyst at Forrester. Most consumers and suppliers are starting simply by connecting smaller devices that use smartphones as a remote control, and just one or two percent of people actually have connected devices to control lighting, climate, energy, appliances and home monitoring.

So, the connected home revolution has started, and you might already be leading the masses! If you pay for super fast broadband and play your music wirelessly using a Bose music system, you’re well on the way to a connected home. But don’t concern yourself with updating all your electrical appliances just yet.

Why not dabble in an Egg Minder? If nothing else, it’s hilarious to get a message from an eggcup!

 

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By Maddie Moate on 16.02.15

Guest Contributor

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