It’s a trend that has strengthened in recent years and one which is set to continue. Automating your home with smart technology has been the vision of many commentators from TV shows of the past, such as the well-loved BBC’s Tomorrow’s World with its exciting predictions for the future of technology, to the 2012 International CES which showcases the latest tech products.
As a result, the smart home automation market has seen substantial growth over the last decade and the potential for businesses to evolve with the mainstream smart home market has never been greater. This was noted in recent research by technology market researcher Sam Lucero of ABI Technology.
Mainstream home automation
In his article, published on Hidden Wires, Lucero points out that until recent times, home automation has been the domain of the super-rich or the geeky home technologist. It is also fair to say that much of the smart home automation market has focussed around entertainment, including the installation and wireless linking of Internet, music and TV systems.
What businesses now need to do, according to Lucero, is to realise the fiscal importance of this market by homogenising it with the mainstream. Successful businesses invariably manage to do this at some point in the evolution of a product – and appealing to those who aren’t DIY technologists and who don’t have £1000s to spend on a fully customised, integrated smart home system could be one of the wisest moves a company could make in this sector.
Technology and innovation
However, the seeds of the mainstream smart home revolution may have already been sown. In a BBC article published in January this year, the use of induction heating technology (something that has been available in cooking appliances for years) was reported as having the very real potential of being fitted around the home in various surfaces. This would, in effect (providing that specially engineered appliances were used in conjunction with the technology), mean that power could be found anywhere in the home where these surfaces were installed. Take a kettle for example; it wouldn’t matter on which surface it was placed or where on that surface – it would be capable of boiling the water safely and directly with maximum efficiency.
Fulton Innovations, the wireless power technology company are making real waves in the domestic arena with this kind of technology as well as researching and developing other ingenious power solutions that are energy efficient and carbon sensitive, such as SplashPower.
The smart homes of the future needn’t stop there, the report continued. Businesses such as Green Structures and Nano Solar are stepping in to research and develop techniques to create and harness more of the energy we use through efficiency technologies like ‘passive heat recovery systems’ and ultra thin solar panels that could offer ‘parity’ to the National Grid.
UK Government strategy
Many of these businesses have spotted an opportunity to thrive in the UK because of the Government’s continued adherence to a policy which aims to ensure that all new build domestic homes will be carbon free by 2016 and the same for all public buildings by 2019. It seems that in the current gloomy economic climate, there is some money to be made through real innovation which UK businesses and technologists have been keen to explore. Some, such as the ‘anti-Green’ lobby may be cynical.
However, those who are not convinced by the ‘Green’ argument and see it simply as a means to market to and then ‘fleece’ those who are, might do well to sit-up and take note of such innovation. It makes little sense to deny the world the advancement of some potentially incredible technologies, simply because they have are deemed to have ‘green’ benefit and are sold as such.
Thrift made easy
The real benefit in all the examples mentioned here and the one that will ultimately drive economic success is the demand of the consumer to accept, adapt and incorporate technology into their homes – making life easier. If this can be done whilst satiating the arguments of environmentalists, then that is certainly an added bonus.
And anyway, who says energy efficiency through smart home automation shouldn’t be something to aspire to? In a way, smart homes of the future satisfy the very traditional value of ‘thrift’ – making the very most out of the resources to hand efficiently and economically.
About UsWe are a UK organisation promoting the security and safety benefits of home automation and smart home technology. Read more about our stated aims here.
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