Smart homes: the quest for more control

  • Technology to transform your life
  • The case for a smarter home
  • Why control is everything

The Smart Homes Summit, held in London in September 2015, featured some burning questions – quite literally in some cases.

“Have you ever been worried that you’ve left the iron on when your half way to the train station?”

This question, posed by Nina Bhatia – smart home evangelist and MD of Commercial & Connected Homes at British Gas – is a perfect example of how tech types attending the event were focusing more than ever on the real, human benefits of smart home gadgets.

Incidentally, if the answer to the above is yes, you can now use an app to switch your appliances off from your phone.

Simplicity, control and an antidote to absentmindedness – the smart home revolution has started, and pretty soon we’ll wonder how we ever lived without it.

It’s hard to believe that in 2010 only 24% of us in the UK were accessing the internet on our phones. In 2014, this figure jumped up to nearly 70%, helping the connected home to finally become a reality.  

Nina Bhatia explains, “I think there is still a misconception that smart homes are very geeky, technical or for the wealthy but it’s really about control and making people’s lives easier.”

Gadgets such as smart meters aren’t just cool toys, they’re genuinely useful, helping to make your life easier and save you time and money.

“Smart meters were the first to put people in control of their electricity and gas use, and their bills, by doing away with estimated meter readings and letting people monitor their own energy use. Now, the data from smart meters can be used to give you a personalised breakdown of your energy use through an online interactive tool”.

The result is that energy use and bills go from being potentially confusing to something simple and transparent.

Hive Active Heating allows you to control your heating and hot water from wherever you are and is now in over 200,000 homes in the UK. But the reality is, many people who use it do so from the comfort of their own sofa – or bed – just as much as they use it outside,” adds Bhatia.

Let’s face it, you never knew you needed the world’s information at your fingertips, until the internet was invented. You never thought you wanted to carry thousands of songs around in your pocket, until Apple gave us the iPod. And, sooner than you think, managing your house with the click of a mouse or a swipe of your fingers will become second nature.

It’s time to say hello to smarter living.


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