Move over, George Jetson! A new day has dawned for those of you who’ve dreamed being both more efficient and lazier from the comfort of your recliner, or when you’re away from home. Tomorrow’s technology is available in your dream home today.
The “connected home” vision has come to life with the expansion of technology via the Internet. Network bandwidth is widely available, and traditional home appliances are being rebuilt to connect to the internet via WiFi and other wireless protocols. Smartphones and tablets are doubling as remote controls for everything in the home ranging from light bulbs (such as for the beautiful accent lighting and fire pit features on our “Moderno” plan) to thermostats.
But some would say are these smart appliances really necessary? The answer is no, and some are not really cost efficient. But these appliances will only continue to get more intuitive and affordable as time goes on. Things that seemed impossible five years ago are available now, such as tapping your iPhone to fill your dream home with music. As technology improves, prices drop and make these once unattainable products available to anyone who desires them.
Here is a list of some of the more popular high-tech products and services available today:
Smart Garage Door Opener
The Chamberlain MyQ garage door opener lets you tap your device’s screen to open or close your garage from anywhere. (Perfect for those of us who have had to call a neighbor to close it before!) Soon, the company also plans to add geofencing capabilities so it can sense when you’re near your driveway to automatically open, and when your car is safely inside, close your existing garage door.
Smart Home Controlling System
The NuBryte console is a touch-screen panel that replaces your wall switch. Using a small built in camera, it will automatically turn the lights on when you enter a room. It can also be used as a security camera, and you can create a whole-home network with two or more consoles.
The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your schedule in about a week and programs itself to control your home’s internal temperature, or you can manually adjust settings from your Smartphone. You can install this handy little device yourself, or get a professional to do it for you. The company claims this thermostat will save you 20% in energy costs.
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Again, Nest has combined the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors into one unit. It tells you in actual clear words what the problem is. You can get an early warning in case it’s just toast burning, and to shut it off you just wave your arm under the detector. The device alerts you with a text if there’s a problem or if the batteries or low, saving you from those annoying ‘where’s the beep coming from’ middle-of-the-night search sessions. It also works in conjunction with the Nest smart thermostat.
Smart Home Appliances
Whirlpool sells smart home appliances that use the company’s 6th Sense Live technology to connect to an online database of energy prices, so you can automatically run appliances when power is cheapest. When tested at a lab in Cambridge, MA, energy prices that are as high as 14 cents a kilowatt-hour during peak hours can be as low as seven cents off-peak. Running a dishwasher at night, for instance, would slash its energy bill in half. With the Whirlpool mobile app, you can do everything from starting and stopping a load of laundry to turning down the refrigerator thermostat while you’re on vacation. There are also alerts for power outages, when your laundry detergent is low, or if an appliance needs service.
Power Sources – AC versus DC
AC/DC is not just a rock band! More and more, “alternating current” (AC) is being replaced by “direct current” (DC) in homes today.
AC is short for alternating current. This means that the direction of current flowing in a circuit is constantly being reversed back and forth. The electrical current in most houses is alternating current. This comes from power plants that are operated by the electric company. Those big wires you see stretching across the countryside are carrying AC current from the power plants into most homes and businesses.
DC, or direct current, means the electrical current is flowing in only one direction in a circuit. Batteries are a good source of direct current. Direct current (DC) can also be generated by means other than batteries, such as solar cells, fuel cells, and even some types of generators. DC current is a cleaner, quieter, and more efficient source of electricity and can be found in newer appliances and products such as air conditioning units and ceiling fans.
In addition to these particular products and innovations, there are also many companies who will wire your entire house to suit your particular needs. Service providers like Verizon and AT&T are seizing the moment with smart home packages that include the appliances and corresponding mobile apps to manage home security, temperature, and lights.
No matter what technology avenue you choose, let Sater Design Collection, the leader in plans for luxury homes of all sizes for over three decades, help you find your dream home today!