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The Smart Home Revolution

You might not have noticed, but the home is going through a revolution.

As long ago as ooh 2008, the idea of home improvements consisted of a new slab of paint on the living room walls, or an upgrade of the fridge you bought back in 1984. Indeed, when we thought of new technology for your standard British home, we thought of slow evolution across decades: of the television from black and white to colour to satellite to digital; from the introduction of the microwave; or the addition of Wi-Fi and broadband. That though has all started to change. Like Sauron’s all-seeing eye in Lord of the Rings, in the last few years, tech giants from Google to Amazon to Apple to Samsung are turning their gaze (and ample R&D resources) towards improving your home life. 

Whether it’s the Amazon Echo, Ring doorbell, or a ‘smart’ television, fridge or lightbulb, the rate of technological change in the last few years has increased exponentially, with some of the largest tech companies in the globe now focusing their attention on this industry. This is exemplified by some of the recent acquisitions: Amazon’s purchase of the aforementioned Ring, a maker of smart doorbells and cameras, for $1 billion, was followed by big-dollar takeovers of Nest (maker of smart thermostats, smoke detectors, and other products) by Google and of SmartThings (maker of a smart-home platform) by Samsung, as well as Apple’s commitment to Echelon, another platform maker.

So now, instead of gradual change, we have a revolution, with an estimated 40,000 new products for the home to be introduced in the next year.

The revolution of the home has reached the UK too: YouGov’s Smart Homes 2018 Report indicates that close to a quarter of Britons (23%) own one or more smart home devices (excluding smart meters, which would make that figure much higher), while almost one in ten now (8%) have two or more, underlining the growth in the industry and the fact that they’re no longer an expensive luxury reserved for the wealthy or only accessible to tech hipsters.

Consumers are now increasingly of the view that a ‘smart’ home has the potential to make our lives considerably easier, more comfortable and cost and time efficient. How so? Let’s give some examples: Picture yourself commuting home on a hot day. Your tube carriage on the Central Line has reached the kind of temperature needed to boil an egg. But rather than turn your air conditioner on when you get home, you simply use your smartphone on the tube (one which has WiFi) to tell your device to cool the flat before you arrive. Or imagine that it’s date night and it’s your turn to cook dinner. Why not heat the oven before you get home, or have it adopt a bespoke temperature setting to cook that tricky lamb. Later, during dinner, you could tell Alexa, the voice assistant on Amazon Echo, to play your romantic playlist, dim the lights or even read out the Kama Sutra.

To give another brief, but hugely significant, example, in March 2017, the Washington Post wrote a story about the impact of the Ring ‘smart’ doorbell. The author wrote:

”The Los Angeles Police Department did a study of two neighborhoods, one with Ring products, the other without, “and we saw a 50% reduction in burglaries in the neighborhood with the doorbell, while the other side saw no changes.” ”

So this one device, costing about 200 bucks, saw a 50% reduction in burglaries in areas which adopted it. And that’s ignoring the other smart security devices which could also assist your home safety, such as burglar alarms, security cameras, smart windows and smart door locks. As touched on above, Ring has since been acquired by Amazon for a billion dollars. 

There is no limit on the possibilities for your smart home. Home automation is the future. 

At the centre of this home revolution is the concept commonly known as the ‘‘Internet of Things’’ (IoT). In 1999, the British scientist Kevin Ashton coined the term before anything, except computers, was actually connected to the internet. In the last two decades, Ashton challenged society to imagine a world where the internet will permeate all aspects of people’s lives.

The first and most obvious benefit to smart homes is convenience, as more connected devices can handle more operations (lighting, temperature, etc.) and frees up the resident to perform other tasks. But beyond this, smart home IoT devices can help achieve other notable targets, such as the reduction of costs and conservation of energy. In our example above, you’d have a comfortable and cool apartment when you get home, but note that, in reverse, you’d be leaving that air conditioner off when you’re not home, which would lower your electricity bill and reduce energy consumption. Smart lights and various other energy consuming devices could be treated in a similar way. 

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What we can do for You

So where do we come in? Well, we help capture this revolution, so your home can be more accurately graded and valued.

How do we ‘capture’ this? Home Smartify offers a number of free services on our website which will allow any individual to be assessed on how smart, secure and green their residential property is. We then provide immediate recommendations on how one can improve that score based on our advanced algorithms. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to confirm what technology you have in your home: we have graded over 16,000 UK-based products, which will contribute towards the accuracy of your overall score.

So whether you’re a tenant looking to rent, a property owner looking to sell, or just somebody wanting to improve your home, our free services can be used by anybody in the UK.

Our website seeks to provide:

An improved home life: make your life safer, easier to run and more comfortable.

Education: we provide free hand-out guides and recommendations on how you can improve the quality of your home.

Greater transparency: so buyers, tenants and guests know what exactly they’re moving into.

Energy efficiency: we help guide you on how to create a more energy efficient home.

Cost saving: as a result of the energy efficient of the new devices, your home will become cheaper to run.

Clarity: by helping you sort through the sheer amount of information on the home, to help simplify your decision-making.

 

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