Over the last decade there has been a lot of chatter about home automation, but only recently has smart home technology begun to gain momentum and mass appeal with Australian homeowners. While smart home technology used to be about big screens and flashy sound systems, it’s now all about convenience.
Some of the most popular home automation solutions are small and easy to use, and whether you’re controlling your home, or streamlining your lifestyle, home automation can make day-to-day tasks more straight forward – so you can spend more time on things that really matter.
So what big trends can we expect for home automation in 2016 and where to next for the year to come?
Six trends for smart home technology for today and the future:
1. Smart appliances.
Smart appliances include lights, audio, entertainment, climate and more. With smart appliances you can dramatically alter the look and feel of any room with the push of a button. But control should be intuitive.
With a friendly interface, touch screens are likely to solve this problem. They are becoming even more popular this year and include more options to customise your control.
The rise of automated smart dishwashers, fridges and floor cleaners is also on the cards for 2016 with each of these products boasting additional control features, such as the ability to monitor and collect data as well as making automated decisions based on past experiences and programs.
2. Entertainment systems.
Home is about sharing experiences with friends and family and thanks to automation it’s never been so easy to connect and entertain. In 2016, say goodbye to wiring and cables and hello to portable fun by ridding yourself of cumbersome CDs and DVDs once and for all.
Instead of wasting your down time trying to find your favourite song or movie, entertainment collections where you can store your whole database of CDs and DVDs online will be widely available. You can then stream media from your online libraries, letting you watch or listen to what you want, whenever you want. Thanks to automation you will also be able to program your entertainment system (including your Blu-ray, video game console etc.) to go on mute or pause if the doorbell rings and even if loud music starts playing from another area of the house.
2016 is the year of ‘right here, right now’. Instead of waiting to control a system or product when you’re right in front of it, adopt apps that give you control at your convenience.
Smart lighting means you can use an app on your smartphone or tablet to adjust lighting to suit your specific needs, even when you’re on the go. You can even control individual lights, groups of lights or groups of groups with applications like Clipsal SILC.
Smart applications also means it's easier than ever to reduce your carbon footprint whether you’re at home or on holiday. By providing information about how much energy you’re using, smart technology makes it easy to make real time changes to your consumption. For example, the Wiser Link energy monitoring system acts like your very own home energy coach, highlighting for you which family member is using the most energy. It also has the ability to send notifications and alerts when you’ve reached or exceeded your monthly energy targets, or suffered a power loss – so you can say goodbye to nasty power bill surprises.
4. Motion sensors and switches.
Having a smart home doesn’t necessarily mean a complete revamp of your home electrical. Most homeowners don’t realise that it can be as easy as installing motion sensors, sunset switches, timers or dimmers. These automated products provide precise control over every day electrical items, without any additional input from homeowners.
Over the next year we will see huge uptake in automatic sensors and switches, especially in outdoor areas where it can be difficult to find a physical switch.
5. Integration and scalability.
With more and more connected devices within the home, many of which are likely to be competing products and systems, integration and scalability will be a big focus over the next year.
Bringing all these devices into the one interface will make life a lot easier, so look for systems that can offer connections between individual devices, or that offer an all-in-one solution. One example is PUSH Controls which can be used as a single interface to control climate, blinds and energy management, plus much more.
The integration of all your home automation systems means that your control system can become your living room lifestyle partner that will synchronise and simplify your home living with one button!
6. Weather proof everything.
Technology is not only getting smarter but more resistant too. Ever wanted to listen to music in the shower or watch TV from the pool? Well now you'll be able to with a more accessible range of outdoor, waterproof technology which offers a solution for every lifestyle and space.
Materials like aluminium grilles will also be worth considering in the year to come as they provide greater resistance from steam and moisture, meaning you can have access to your favourite tunes even when entertaining outdoors. If you’re doing a new build, or renovating your outdoor area, consider access to power too. Having an outdoor power outlet can be a lifesaver when you’re planning some outdoor entertainment.
We can expect to see a huge uptake of bigger and better smart home automation in the year to come, with user-friendly integrated systems and convenience the major selling points.
Ben Green is the General Manager of PUSH by Schneider Electric. Specialising in smart device automation and developing easy to use technology, Ben has founded two Australian tech start ups over the past 10 years. PUSH’s core focus is to enable end users the ability to control their home through a phone or tablet. Over the past 5 years PUSH has risen to become a market leader in Smart Home technology.
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