Imagine a home where every single device - whether it be the wide-screen television, the kitchen stove or the lights in the living room - could be controlled with a hand-held remote. Whereas 20 years ago only art designers for big budget science-fiction movies had the opportunity to design such high-tech homes, nowadays the technology revolution has made them an affordable option for homeowners throughout the UK.
Home automation – luxury or necessity?
Technology has come to play a vital role in our lives, with smartphones and the internet being integral to daily life. It's only a matter of time before home automation comes to be seen as commonsense, even commonplace. What’s more, you’ll reap rewards if you ever want to sell your home, as the technology can enhance your home’s worth.
Besides, many of these home gadgets can save you significant costs in the long-run by making your home more energy-efficient. For example:
- Heating and cooling systems that can be controlled from your smartphone, so you can turn them on when you’re returning home, rather than having to leave them on while away to ensure your home remains at the desired temperature.
- Motion sensors that automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the room.
- Smart meters that can provide you with accurate measurements of the electricity being used. The UK government plans to have smart meters installed in every home by 2020 due to their cost-saving benefits.
Where to start?
According to Build It, the most important things to take into account when designing your smart home are:
- The central processing unit. You'll need to determine where it should be stored, and make sure it's a spot that is well ventilated.
- The cabling system. Although everything's going wireless these days, it's still recommended to invest in a good cabling system as this will be the foundation of your smart home. Efficient cabling will make it easier to add more gadgets later on.
After that, it's a matter of deciding what you want and where you want it. Here are just a few ways in which you can make your home smarter:
Multi-room audio: Musical tastes tend to vary between the different generations of a household. A multi-room audio control system helps resolve that issue by enabling you to play different music in different zones of the home.
Lighting control: Smart lighting systems enable you to turn the lights on or off, or change the 'mood' of the lighting from a single point. The more advanced systems can control your lighting for you while you're away.
Heating: Smart home heating systems allow you to monitor and adjust the heating throughout the home from a single point.
Security: While a giant death-ray that zaps trespassers would be pretty cool, it may open you up to legal difficulties. However, smart security systems are available that can control CCTV and provide motion detection systems that will alert authorities to intruders.
A fair amount of your budget should be set aside for the cabling system, and installation is best left to a qualified electrician. Allocating the rest of your budget depends on what kind of a smart home system you're planning to implement.
- Self-install: According Home Automation Company, DIY smart home systems can range from £100 to £2000. This will provide you with the most basic smart home devices.
- A price range of £5000 to £25000 will fetch you a versatile home automation system that can control your audio, video, lighting and security.
- A high-end system that can give you total control over a variety of mechanical and electronic devices in your home will cost £50,000 to £100,000. Now you're finally venturing into Tony Stark territory.
Take into account that mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad can substitute as a control panel for your home automation system and you can save significantly on costs.
Image courtesy of yourcloudworks