We’re well beyond the early days of smart home technology – anyone remember the “clap-on” lights of last century? But new and better offerings are coming hard and fast, and we’re finally reaching the gold standard of real integration. Features that used to be the stuff of science fiction akin to traveling to Mars have hit the consumer market and are finding increasing uptake among consumers eager for the novelty, luxury, and convenience of the space age in the here and now. Here are some of the most popular choices for a technology-driven home:
Integrated sound systems
Whether it’s confined to your home theater, or present in every room in your home (and hidden in a few well-placed rocks in the yard) a hard-wired sound system is an increasingly common home technology. While its effects can be approximated with portable, wireless or Bluetooth speakers, there’s nothing like multi-zone surround-sound with remote management. Integration with projectors or flat screens, home servers, legacy technologies like record players and more are commonly available. Think theater-quality setups for the home viewing room, tunes that follow you from the kitchen to the bath, and parties with seamless integration across the whole house – and all of it controlled from your mobile device.
Mechanized window coverings
While shutters that close or open at the push of a button have been available for decades, the technology is becoming slicker, sexier, and more accessible than ever. The latest technology solutions for window coverings enable presets with variable levels of light dampening based on time of day, season, or mood. The styles are diverse and luxurious, and the customization and remote management are intuitive and flexible. An additional benefit to window covering automation is solving the age-old problem of human error and the broken blinds. Retire your bent aluminum blinds and roll up those broken cords in favor of flawless mechanical units with remote deployment. Plus, you can confuse your cat for days.
Wireless lighting controls
Custom lighting configurations, variable luminescence, eco-friendly fixtures and settings, and remote mobile management are all available for your lighting needs. While stage-quality effects are entirely achievable at home, most homeowners prefer a more conventional arrangement and install an integrated system primarily for the convenience of remote control. Freestanding and wired lighting can be integrated into a comprehensive system and navigated through wall panels and wirelessly via your mobile devices whether you’re at home or on the other side of the world, making pranking an endless temptation.
For all the disapproving dads in the room – and the rest of us who care about the environment, of course – smart thermostats are a great choice for eco-friendly energy management and strategic savings on heating or cooling. Highly customizable presets can adjust internal temperatures for occupancy, time of day, season, and personal preference, and like all the solutions on this list, they can be managed (and overridden in a pinch) from wall units or mobile apps.
Rumor is, everyone’s favorite online shopping service is pushing this one hard, so they can deliver past your doorstep and right to your table/counter/couch, etc. Technology-driven security solutions include easily-mounted Wi-Fi-enabled units that can take customizable codes for entrance and stream video to your mobile device. You can then confirm the pet-sitter gives Fido his walks at the same time every day, and the grocery delivery doesn’t sit on the front stoop all afternoon.
The latest and greatest innovation in the ultimate technology-driven home is voice assistant integration. Technology companies are competing for in-home placement of their virtual assistant units and racing to integrate as many services as possible so you can skip the mobile management and simply order your AI house staff to privacy screen the windows, put on the mood lighting, and hit the music moments before your date knocks.
Of course, installing top-notch home technology can be a significant investment, and homeowners should ensure adequate security, insurance, and warranty measures to protect their asset. Look for a home warranty plan with a tiered plan structure to cover your unique situation in the event of theft, damage, or natural disaster.
The ultimate technology-driven home is now well within reach – window covering and lighting solutions, audio-visual and security solutions, and smart-home features including climate control are available at the touch of a button, wirelessly via a mobile device, or to take things even further into the realm of science fiction, via voice command. True integration, convenience, and luxury are possible with today’s products – just make sure you’ve got sufficient insurance to cover your upgrades and keep that ultimate set-up in tip-top shape.