The Home Technology You Need to Make Life Simpler, Safer and More Fun

Monday, August 7, 2017

Beautiful glazing, sculpted staircases, tasteful furniture – these may all make a strong first impression, but what makes a home today truly modern isn’t what stands out, it’s what’s hidden in the walls and transmitted through the air.

From multi-room wireless audio and to complete smart home systems, technology is changing our homes as much as it’s changing us. Whether you want entertainment, convenience or security, here’s the latest technology that makes our clients’ homes as smart as they are good looking.

Home automation and smart homes 

Everything from curtains and blinds to lights and central heating can now be controlled from your phone, whether you’re at home or away. Just about any home appliance you can think of is now made with smart home connectivity in mind, letting you get as detailed as you want with your automation set up, from controlling your home’s heating from work to setting your kettle to start boiling when you walk through the front door.

Even if you’re not the type to be excited by the idea of internet-connected kettles, anyone can appreciate smart home lighting systems, which allow you control individual lights or customised lighting combinations from your phone or a touch screen wall panel. Bulbs such as the Philips Hue range can emit light of any colour at a range of brightness, and can be programmed to automatically shift at set times, so you can have a brighter, cooler light during the day and warmer, softer light in the evening.

The most recent innovations in smart homes are intelligent, AI-driven voice control, which puts the days of clapper switches firmly in the past. Devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home allow you to give detailed smart home instructions like “turn up the heating in the bedroom to 23 degrees” or “lock the back doors” or even make online orders to whichever of your voice-controlled, internet-connected “assistants” is listening.

Wireless sound systems

Wireless home sound systems such as Sonos allow you to place speakers throughout your home which connect together via your wireless home network and can be controlled individually via an app, letting you raise and lower the volume of each speaker from your phone, even if you’re in another room.

Sonos integrates with all major music services and can connect to any device in the home, even a record player. This means that you could listen to a vinyl playing on your living room record player while in the bath, or you could connect it to every speaker in the house, letting you move from room to room without missing your favourite part of the song.

Best of all, this can all be connected to the above smart home and voice control systems, so you can create custom lighting and music combinations which can be activated from your phone or by voice, whether you want to be energised in the morning, relax at night or entertain guests.

Home cinemas

While the most cutting edge home cinema equipment still costs more than most of us could justify (such as an amazing 4K projector in one of our current projects that costs more than my first flat!), thanks to the dramatic increase in quality and drop in price of large screen TVs and projectors, creating an authentic cinema experience at home is no longer just for the most dedicated tech enthusiast.

Basements are the ideal location for home cinemas as it’s the easiest location to control light and turn up the volume without annoying the neighbours. And if you don’t want to dedicate an entire room to your cinema, home automation makes it simple to transform the atmosphere and function of a room at the touch of a button.

For example, you can have a custom setting for your home automation in your living room that lowers the blinds, rolls down the projector screen and dims the lights by simply selecting it on your phone, turning a bright and open living room into the perfect home cinema environment.

CCTV and access control

Filling your home with high tech gadgetry is no good if you can’t keep it safe, but luckily technology has made that easier than ever too.

Internet-connected CCTV can be viewed from anywhere in the world, and can even send you alerts if movement is detected in your home while you’re away. In addition to security, IPCCTV lets you monitor and provide instruction to nannies, cleaners or anyone else who you might trust with your home.

The locks for doors, windows and gates can all be connected as well, meaning that you never have to worry about whether or not you’ve left your home vulnerable when you’re on holiday. These locks can be individually controlled and even set to automatically unlock when they detect that you’re nearby.

If you have a visitor, smart access controls send a video feed from your front door to your phone so that you can let in guests, give instructions for deliveries or tell unwanted visitors to leave from the other side of the house or even when you’re not home. This video, as well as those captured by your CCTV, can all be backed up to provide evidence should the worst happen.

Get in touch to learn more

While something like a Sonos system can be set up fairly easily, more complex home automation and AV set ups are far beyond a DIY job. If you want to learn more about bringing a bit of sci-fi to your home, feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected], or click here read our guest blog from our trusted home-tech consultant, Rob McAllister.