All of us enjoy the benefits of modern
technology, even if we're not sure how it all works. The internet, car
engines, cell phones: none of it makes complete sense, but we've taken
hold of this technology and can no longer live without it. The same can
be said about our houses. Whether it is microwaves or washing machines,
the latest inventions and equipment make our everyday lives easier. But
now, with innovative computer software and technological know-how, house
designers have taken simple conveniences into new frontiers, creating
a fresh model for the future: the smart home.
are Smart Homes?
It's just a regular house, except every piece of electrical equipment
is hooked up to a computer system. With home automation, you'll no longer
be depending on switches or other forms of manual activation. Instead,
every light bulb, every TV, and even the thermostat are controlled remotely
from a computer database. It sounds like something from Star Trek, but
it's actually becoming a popular practice in house design.
Absolute convenience. Everything in the residence can be maintained with
a remote control or a laptop. It's like living in James Bond's house,
which is not only cool, but creates a lot of practical benefits. Your
smart appliances will know when to turn on and off, how much energy is
required of them, and how to maintain themselves. This is not only a handy
timesaver; it is also energy efficient, which is friendly to both the
environment and your utility bills. Plus, a computerized house can adapt
to the way you live: it knows the time you turn the lights on in the morning,
it knows what temperature you like your house to stay at, and it even
knows when to open the garage door.
are Smart Appliances?
Smart home appliances are specialized equipment programmed to run from
a central system. Any domestic device can be a smart appliance, and though
they're not cheap, many times they can be leased instead of bought in
order to cut down on the price. Plus, they are sometimes hooked up to
the manufacturer as well, so when the oven goes on the fritz you can get
an immediate notice of the problem and estimate of the repair. The real
beauty is that you gain more control but giving up control. In other words,
this technology is convenient because smart homes think for themselves.
What Can Smart Home Appliance Do?
They can sense an electrical surge and can shut off their own power. The
can sense a water failure and turn off the mains. They know when they
need defrosting, they know how long to cook your meals (some microwaves
can read scan-bars on food items and set their own timers), and some can
even keep track of expiration dates or can create recipes based on the
ingredients in the cupboard. Your house will know when it's raining and
close the windows for you, even while you're away. But the most fascinating
aspect of smart homes is that the possibilities are completely limitless
because you can now actually communicate with your house.
Talk to Your House?
Think about the options you now have at your command. With the touch of
a button or by the register of your voice, you can tell your house exactly
what to do for you. The real convenience, though, is the peace of mind
this provides. What if you could monitor your house from afar? Did you
leave that burner on? Check the internet once you get to work and tell
the stove to turn itself off. Or monitor the temperature from the office;
then on your way home, e-mail or text message your house to turn on the
furnace. If you're out of town, you can even turn your lights on and off
to ward off prowlers, or arm your burglar alarm from across the country.
Or set up some cameras and watch your house at any computer terminal.
Home automation is growing more and more
common everyday. And though it sounds intimidating, this wave of the future
is quickly becoming the custom of today. So you'll definitely want to
start thinking about converting your house, a little at a time. Buy that
automatic coffee maker or computerized sound system. You don't have to
go crazy and buy every gizmo and gadget on the market, but by slowly building
up your house's technology, you avoid being left behind in the inconvenience
of the past.
Marcus Pickett Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the
home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both
regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.