“Smart home” technologies have evolved rapidly in recent years. While it’s not a new concept — remote controls, the harbinger of smart tech, were invented in 1898 — smart technology in the home has rapidly increased in popularity and utilisation since the early 2000s.
Features such as automated heating, lighting and doors are now ubiquitous in the new-house market, and consumer demand for high-tech homes is driving innovations apace. There is no indication that this thirst for “smarter” homes will abate any time soon. If anything, house buyers are likely to raise their expectations when it comes to smart tech.
There are also many technological innovations that have changed how we live in our homes that fall outside the category of “smart tech”, such as solar electricity.
So, which are the most revolutionary home technologies that have soared in popularity, boosted property values and changed the way we live our lives? Are these worth adding to your home to make your life easier or boost its value? Should you be adding these features to your new home wishlist?
What is a Smart Home?
A smart home is a property in which the appliances can be controlled — from inside or outside the home — by a smartphone, wi-fi, 4G or Bluetooth. From turning the kettle on from your bed to making sure the heating is fired up an hour before you get home, smart technology offers the ultimate convenience and control.
The past 20 or 30 years has also seen the rapid development of home technologies that do not fall into the “smart” category but have made our lives easier and more enjoyable.
The Most Revolutionary Home Tech of the Past 20 Years
- Solar panels
As the government strives to achieve its goal of net-zero gas emissions by 2050 and consumer demand for more eco-friendly properties grows, technology such as solar electricity is becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners and buyers.
Solar energy was first discovered in 1839, but solar panels were not invented until 1954, and consumers had to wait until the 2000s before this technology became accessible for everyone.
In 2022, the renewable energy sector is booming. Advancements in home solar-panel systems and installation have made them more efficient, affordable and convenient than ever before. Furthermore, a growing number of government grants and incentives, such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which allows homeowners to receive payments by selling back surplus energy to the national grid, make this an affordable and practical energy solution for many homeowners. Installing solar panels could also help you to sell a house fast, as recent research suggests that many people have become more eco-aware since the coronavirus pandemic began.
- Smart plugs and lightbulbs
Plugs and lightbulbs may seem like a relatively minor part of your home, but without them, daily life would be filled with hassle and inconvenience.
Smart plugs are one of the most cost-effective ways of amping up the tech status of your home. And with more people relying on home technology for work and leisure in the home than ever before, a property well appointed with smart plugs will get a big tick in the box from would-be home buyers when the time comes to sell. Smart plugs connect to the internet, allowing you to control them from your smartphone. You can also set timers to turn plugs on and off as necessary. This will also appeal to the “green” homeowner as it is a much more energy-efficient way to use the power in your property.
Smart light bulbs also connect to the internet and can be operated similarly to smart plugs. This kind of tech, which was once revolutionary, is increasingly becoming the norm — transforming the way we live and what we expect from our homes.
- Wi-fi security cameras
Whatever your reason for wanting to boost security in your home — a young family, a rise in crime rates in your area — wi-fi security cameras are a relatively low-cost way to achieve peace of mind. They are a step above a traditional CCTV system because they can connect to other appliances in your home and automate specific actions. For example, if the camera detects movement in your back garden, it can be programmed to trigger a smart overhead light that will illuminate the area.
- Voice-controlled entertainment
Can you even remember life before Alexa or Google Home? These voice-controlled devices allow users to control every aspect of their home via voice command or a smartphone app. From playing favourite music to dimming the lights in your living room, these easy-to-use, hassle-free devices have shaped the way a new generation interacts with their home environment.
New home technology is hitting the market all the time. There’s no telling what the future holds for the homes we live in, but it’s likely to include an increasing amount of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and smart technology.
The Benefits of Adding Advanced Technology to Your Home
- Smart technology, such as smart thermostats and smart smoke detectors, can add value to your home. Online house valuations are a quick and easy way to compare the value of your home before and after installing home technology.
- Adding advanced tech to your property could help it sell faster in a market where “green” homes are in increasing demand.
- Smart technology gives you the ability to control the environment even when you are not home.
- Make your home safer by adding advanced security technology.
- An automated home makes life easier and less stressful.
- Smart tech is easy to upgrade once you’ve made the initial investment.
Investing in home tech need not be a huge drain on your budget. Simple changes such as installing smart light bulbs and plugs can transform your home from a run-of-the-mill property to a desirable smart home. Not only will this make your life easier and more efficient, it could also help to sell your property much faster when the time comes to move on.