Although we don’t all have a voice-activated dishwasher yet, smart technology has infiltrated thousands of homes across the UK. Many of us have thermostats that can be controlled through a smartphone, and that can learn from our preferences. Smart televisions are also increasingly common, as consumers use the internet to access on-demand content like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
It’s clear that, as a nation, we will increasingly take advantage of smart technology and its potential benefits in our everyday lives. Which raises the question: should new builds incorporate smart technology as standard?
Speaking to the Independent, expert Tom Cheesewright explained a vision of an automated life:
“For the most part, things will just happen around you automatically, through a combination of your biometrics and possession of your devices. As you come home from work, your home knows you’re approaching. The temperature is set appropriately, it knows your emotional state, it knows how hungry you are and when you last ate, it knows what your plans for the evening are, it knows what TV shows you like and whether new episodes have been released. It will even know what you’ve got in the fridge and will suggest recipes based on your ingredients, perhaps even switching on the oven to pre-heat it for you.”
To some, this is an obvious next step. This will be especially true for those who have already come to rely on smart technology in their regular lives.
The key to selling smart-enabled homes in the future may not be through dazzling potential homebuyers with technology. It will be by convincing them that their smart technology is fully secure, particularly if it’s made a part of every room in the house. A recent example was the revelation that a baby’s monitor could be hacked to communicate false information or even spy on people.
We live in a rapidly changing world. Climate change, a shift to renewable sources of energy and technological advances mean that we need to build for the future, now more than ever. However, the pace of change, especially with regards technology, may mean that hardwiring smart tech into a home is the equivalent of choosing a minidisc player as an optional extra for your car.
At a basic level, consider the humble phone socket. Found in the vast majority of homes, it was where the landline phone used to connect you to the world, and nowadays allows us to connect to the internet. However, recent developments, including 5G connections, may mean that it’s no longer necessary to have a wired connection. It’s likely that your future home “broadband” will actually be a wireless router that works like a hotspot. Yet, there have been homes built in the last decade with wired connections in every room, thinking to take advantage of a more internet-savvy consumer.
These predictions of a “smart life” also don’t take into account those who will deliberately shun more technological intrusion into their lives. Some 65 percent of Britons find new technology ‘overwhelming’, so it’s not hard to imagine people refusing to buy a smart-enabled home if there were no way of removing the technology from the building itself.