How to have a connected home

The connected home is the future, or so they tell us. But you can have one right now with the addition of some cunning pieces of technology.

 

Welcome to the Internet of Things

A few items in your home could already be connected. That "smart" TV can stream your favourite shows from the internet, your set-top box can be set to record programs from your smartphone, and some fridges will remind you to pick up milk if you're running out. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the connected home of the future. 

Install a smart thermostat, and if there's a sudden cold snap, you can get the central heating up and running from the office, so you come home to a snug living room. You can do the same for the hot water if you're sent home from the footie for an early bath. Conversely, smart air conditioning can be told to keep the place cool, while smart curtains can close if you're going to be late back. For a final flourish, smart lighting can be turned on (in a range of colours) to give the impression you're already home. 

If you're a little more worried about security, then a connected camera system will email you if someone starts moving about outside your property, you can then view a live feed and see what's happening - and alert the authorities if anything untoward is going on. Less ominously, connected cameras are good ways to see what your pets are up to during the day, or to make sure the cleaner is only doing the cleaning. 

 

Around and outside the home

Lesser, but still smart, devices include robotic vacuum cleaners that can whizz around the house when no one is home, charging themselves when low on power. Give it a few years and a total domestic robot will also do the dusting and polishing, taking care not to break your valuables. When you or the family leave the house, a smart lock will monitor comings and goings, and allow you access through fingerprint or smartphone, with the key as a backup. Even the humble garage door can be made smart, to open as your cars approaches, without having to find the remote or launch an app. 

The car itself could be the ultimate smart accessory; it'll know to only accept important calls when you're driving. It can also suggest routes around bad traffic, find you the cheapest petrol (or electric charging stations) and remind you in detail about servicing and consumables. 

Of course, if all that technology gives you a headache and makes you want to rush off to sleep, the smart bed will soon be monitoring your sleep patterns, breathing, heart rate and other factors. They will adjust to how you move at night to make things more comfortable and - if you let it - can provide that health information to doctors. That data along with the information your smartband, smartwatch or phone can be used to monitor your exercise, health patterns and help spot any early symptoms if something is wrong with you - all from the comfort of your own smart home.