The future of the home is the smart home, an interconnected network using the Internet of Things. This new technology ranges from thermostats and shades, security alarms and CCTV, all of which can be accessed and controlled with ease from a smartphone or a voice activated assistant. The smart home revolution is still in its early stages, and adoption is not yet widespread, however, this is an exciting time for our industry. As the smart home technology develops the designs are becoming increasingly innovative and stylish offering contemporary alternatives to more traditional home interiors.
Natural lighting is crucial to the feel and design of any home, and one of the latest trends in smart home design is the motorised ‘smart shade’. It allows you to control the light and heat entering your home remotely, while also providing greater access over home security.
There are two main types of smart shade, motorised shades and retrofit. Motorised shades are the smartest, and also the most expensive. The leading products in this market, from Lutron, Pella and Somfy, integrate with other smart home connected devices such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Nest. Retrofit shades, meanwhile, while cheaper, are limited in functionality, and are usually controlled directly from a dedicated app.
Just like the smart shades trend, smart lighting provides you with an easy and accessible way to manage the lighting in your home. Smart lights, such as Hue from Philips, can be controlled directly from your smartphone or your voice activated assistant. You can control individual lights, such as your bedside lamp, or you can turn on, off or dim the lights in an entire room. Smart lighting also allows you to get creative with your lighting in a way that wasn’t previously possible. By creating lighting ‘scenes’ or ’set-pieces’ you can automate certain lighting functions to create, for example, an ambient, relaxing type spa setting in the comfort of your living room.
The move to smart lighting also provides a solution to an interior design headache: the light-switch. With smart lighting, light switches can be removed giving you greater control over the overall design of your home and a sleeker more contemporary finish.
Smart home devices don’t just offer technological innovation, but in some cases, design innovation as well. An unwelcome guest in modern living rooms and bedrooms is the ubiquitous phone charging cable, often draped untidily over an armrest or a bedside table. Charging furniture, which utilises wireless charging technology, could be about to change all that. The IKEA SELJE nightstand leads the way in the charging furniture market, and IKEA has extended its charging furniture portfolio with the stylish VARV lamps which can be incorporated into the living or dining room, as well as the bedroom.
High-tech shower heads and smart bathroom taps may sound a smart device too far, but these automated fixtures are actually a great way to make our water consumption much more economical. The best smart shower systems can control water temperature and water pressure as well as shutting off automatically as soon as we step out of the shower. Smart taps meanwhile, can be calibrated ahead of time to your favoured water temperature, meaning no more fiddling around with the hot and cold taps to try to find the perfect temperature.
Smart home security
There are a number of applications also available that allow you to protect your home and property remotely through a connected device. These Internet of Things apps allow you to view live security video, lock and unlock doors, silence alarms and offer window & door motion sensors, giving you peace of mind when you’re away from your home.
Smart home technology is still in its infancy, but it’s a trend that is growing each year. At Selo, our focus is on innovation and simplicity so it’s a trend we’re watching closely as it develops. With more and more innovative and sleekly designed products hitting the smart home market, we predict that it’s only a matter of time before this ‘trend’ is adopted in the mainstream.