As morning breaks across the UK, houses start to awaken; lights turn on, kettles start to boil, and blinds are drawn. Except one thing has started to change. Humans aren’t responsible for any of this - it’s the homes themselves. Turning your house into a fully automated organism has often been a fantasy in science fiction, but now it’s slowly and surely becoming a reality, just like how Edgar Bellamy prophesied the creation of debit cards in his novel Looking Backwards, or how Ray Bradbury predicted earbuds with his description of the seashell radio in Fahrenheit 451. And now with one-third of the UK admitting to having smart technology in their homes, it’s only a matter of time before the Jetsons starts to look normal.
But flashy automation isn’t the only reason that smart technology is becoming commonplace – only 24% of smart home tech owners bought it for that reason. A staggering 40% bought it to save money on their bills. This can be seen by the popularity of the different products. Smart TV’s are and will be the most popular product for the foreseeable future, as entertainment based tech will always be the most accessible. But close behind them are other more niche products. 33% of smart home tech buyers own a smart thermostat so that heating and energy usage can be monitored and controlled remotely, removing the possibility of accidentally leaving the heating on when leaving the house, but also giving you the comforting option of to heat up your house before you get back in the winter.
Another one of the bestselling products is smart lighting, with 21% of consumers admitting to owning some. Smart lighting is especially effective for saving energy. One lightbulb usually costs 0.5p an hour to run, so the UK wastes £170 million every year on lighting. With a smart interface, you can monitor which lights are turned on and in which room in the house at all times, as well as setting a timer so you can make sure your house doesn’t look empty so it’s more secure when you go on holiday.
But perhaps the most interesting trend to come out of smart home tech is that it has become more popular with older audiences. The biggest adopters of smart home tech are those 55 years and older, while the second biggest is the 45 – 54-year-olds. This is due to the fact that the older the homeowner the more likely they are to invest money into saving money on bills, whilst homeowners in the 18 – 24 category would be splurging money to automate their homes. We may be closer to the Jetsons way of life than ever before, but paying the bill still takes priority over turning your home into a replica of the Skypad apartments, as only 21% of smart homeowners have integrated their tech with more than one room.
A form of technology that’s becoming more popular due to both its energy saving and automotive properties are smart blinds. Smart blinds such as the Powerview range from Thomas Sanderson mean that you can control them remotely, meaning not only does it make your home secure and technologically advanced, but you also have the option to set the mood for any occasion or time of day with the push of a button, as well as using them to adjust the temperature of a room. This means you have complete autonomy over the look and feel of a room, in addition to saving vast amounts on your energy bills.