We are surrounded by technology: we get our daily news fix from an app on our phone, we shop online, even homework is completed via a smart system. So, how does this translate into the home? Luci Morris takes a look.
In the home, technology is found everywhere we look: from the state-of-the-art appliances in the kitchen and laundry, to our home security. Our homes are no longer controlled by us, they are smarter than ever before and are driven by technology.
Essentially, a smart home sees all aspects of the home controlled from your smartphone. From security, to heating, cooling, lighting, irrigation and even the pulling of blinds, through technology we are able to personalise our home environments when we aren’t even there! This saves us money, time and energy.
Many systems will even allow you to create entire ‘scenes’ at one touch of the button. Prepare your home for your return at the end of the day, or lock it up as you dash out the door to work – it’s all become so simple.
While pre-wiring your home during the construction stage is the most effective way to embrace a smart home, a simple Google search reveals a number of over-the-counter systems that allow you to embrace smart home technology on a smaller scale, controlling aspects such as security, irrigation, and home heating.
But technology in the home doesn’t end there. With analogue television switched off in
New Zealand in 2013, even the most technophobic were forced to embrace technology, with new televisions and source boxes required to ensure we could still sit down and watch our favourite show.
Houses can now be as modern in functionality as they are in aesthetics. This home was designed for an engineer, passionate about technology.
The engine behind any home entertainment system is the source: Freeview, Sky, Blu-Ray, DVD, gaming device and the list goes on. If plugged in, the source simply sends the image and sound out through the television. A larger system will work in conjunction with a receiver, which processes the information and passes the sound through to your speakers. From floor-standing to recessed, speakers come in a range of styles enabling you to tailor-make your sound and overall look. When it comes to selecting the perfect television or screen you need to think about how close you will be sitting: is the screen going to be used for viewing sport and movies in a designated media room or it is for everyday use? It is important you don’t overwhelm a small room with a large screen and while size may not always matter, viewing distance does. You want to be far enough away from the screen so that the picture is natural in appearance; too close and you may notice the individual pixels making up the image. Consumer reports indicate that as a general rule you should be sitting 1.5-2 metres from a 40-47-inch high-definition (HD) screen, and 1.8-2.5 metres from a 50-inch HD screen. You don’t have to have a big entertainment system or touch pads in every room to embrace technology, however. There are a number of mod-cons out there that bring an ease of living into the home.
HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS:
No longer does the bathroom have to be cluttered with shower radios, with shower heads and baths able to stream music at the touch of a button.
The Kohler Archer VibrAcoustic Bath allows you to transform your bathroom into your own personal hydrotherapy spa. Acting as a Bluetooth speaker, you simply fill it up and let the music waves ripple through the water. Paired wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled device, the Moxie Showerhead from Kohler features a water-resistant, wireless rechargeable speaker, giving you hours of music while you wash away the day
LED bulbs consume 20% less energy and last up to 40 times longer than traditional bulbs. And for those looking for LEDs with a bit of fun, the iDual range from Jedi Lighting are for you. Allowing you to tailor your lighting to suit your mood, all you need to do is swap out your standard light bulbs for an iDual light globe. At the click of a button you can choose the mood and light scene for you. Options include ‘functional white’ for working; ‘ocean’ for creating ambience in the bathroom and ‘party’ for entertaining.
4K HIGH-DEFINITION TELEVISION
No longer is a television just a television. At the touch of a button you can now browse the internet, download a movie, stream your favourite pictures or just watch Coro – all from the comfort of the couch. Whether you opt for a curved screen for added impact or a traditional flat screen, the Ultra High Definition 4K HDR Smart LED TVs offer much more than viewing pleasure. With four times as many pixels as a standard television, they produce a super-sharp image. Easily connected to your smartphone and controlled through an app, there is no need for a remote control and its ability to deliver full internet functions will see it reign supreme as a household appliance favourite.
A collaboration between Philips and Desso has seen luminous carpet become a reality. With LED lights integrated into its fibres, this innovative product is transforming the way people interact with a space. Suitable to provide directional information in a commercial area, or to add ambience in the home, this is setting the stage for a more sensory flooring solution. Overseas, we are seeing an emergence in smarter flooring materials. Including the Lauzon Pure Genius Smart Floor, which breaks down airborne contaminants to create a healthier and safer living environment. Decomposing up to 99.6% of bacteria, viruses and mould, it is pushing the boundaries of what we regard as a clean floor.
OTHER MOD CONS WORTH A LOOK
Netatmo Urban Weather Station
While rain, wind and external weather patterns have always been monitored, the Netatmo Urban Weather Station allows you to measure all of this plus the health of your interior. Assessing humidity, noise pollution and CO² levels, it warns you as the indoor air quality deteriorates and chooses the right time for you to ventilate your home. All of the information is sent directly to your smartphone.
The Coravin System uses a medical-grade needle and a capsule of Argon gas to pour a bottle of wine through the cork. The cork is never removed, helping to prevent oxidation and increasing the longevity of the wine. While New Zealand leads the way in screw caps, the majority of the world’s fine wines – particularly European, are stopped with corks. Coravin allows you to taste different wines throughout the evening without having to have all of the bottles open!