In the not too distant future, new-build homes will have built-in charging points for electric cars – as standard. They will also feature smart technology allowing you to control your heating, lighting and security from the comfort of the phone in your hand.
But there is an array of gadgets and gizmos available right now to put you right in control of your home. So what are they? And how can you keep up with the trends?
A team of techie enthusiasts from Barratt Homes has scoured the market for all the very latest ways to achieve a truly connected home.
If you thought built-in ice dispensers were fancy, check these out. Thanks to built-in cameras, many fridges can keep you up-to-date with all your produce – even when you’re on the move. Others can scan barcodes and will give you a shout when food or drinks are approaching their use-by date.
Find sorting out your recyclable waste tedious? Smart bins can do it all for you. Thanks to sensors, image recognition and artificial intelligence, you can just throw your rubbish away, and your bin will do the rest. Bin.e is just one example of trash gadgets available right now.
Smart vacuum cleaners
If you have one of these nifty little gizmos in your home, you can watch TV, go to work or sleep soundly in the knowledge that your smart vacuum cleaner has mapped out your home and is keeping your floors spotless and squeaky clean. Models already on the market include offerings from Dyson and iRobot.
Smart coffee machines
Remember Teasmade? Meet the future…it’s already here. Smart coffee machines currently on the market are wi-fi enabled and will work with your smartphone so you can brew up from the comfort of your bed.
Amazon has designed its Alexa digital assistant to work within their smart microwave. It even allows you to order extra food directly from the online retail giant.
Smart baby monitors
These have evolved beyond recognition in recent years. The likes of Philips have developed smart baby monitors well beyond audio and visual capability. Now, you can monitor your baby’s temperature and the humidity of the nursery too. You can even switch on lullabies and soothing lights from afar.
Smart security systems
You’ve probably seen the ads. Ring, Nest and a range of others can put you in complete control of your front door. That means seeing who is outside and recording CCTV footage from your phone. No need to worry if you’re out when a delivery arrives, you can speak through the doorbell and leave instructions. Some smart doorbells use retina, finger-print or facial recognition – so you can forget about scrambling for your keys or locking yourself out. It’s all a thing of the past.
Smart light bulbs
Designed to sense the time of day to adjust their brightness – or even colour – these are wonderful cosmetic additions to your home. But they can also be useful for security – creating the appearance of a house in use when you’re not in.
The like of Nest and Hive offer you the means to control your heating whilst on the move. They also help you reduce energy consumption and – best of all – they can turn on your heating just before you get back from a late wintry night out.
Following hot on the heals of the smart vacuum, these are perfect for keeping the lawn at the exact length you want it – all year round. All you have to do is keep your smart lawnmower charged up and ready for action.
Fancy a few extra seconds in bed? How about smart shower U by Moen? It’ll react to your voice, phone or controller – switching itself on just at the right moment and at the right temperature for you.
Whether you buy new technology for fun or for practical use, these little gadgets can bring a touch of trend-led modernisation to the home. Just make sure you have enough plugs and a decent wi-fi connection to keep your connected home online.