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Home Technology Trends: Role & Impact on Home Design

Instructor: David Juliao

David has a bachelor's degree in architecture, has done research in architecture, arts and design and has worked in the field for several years.

In this lesson, take a look at some of the technological features that are transforming the way we live our houses. Explore the growing potential of house automation and learn about how home design is being transformed by all these innovations.

Technology is Everywhere

Your fridge realized you are running out of milk and orders it through the Internet, it's delivered to your house and you barely noticed it. A few years ago, this would sound like science-fiction, but it's quickly becoming a reality. High-tech features are more and more common for home use. Technology is not only transforming the way we communicate and work, but also the way we live and, furthermore, the place we live in.

Every year new products are launched, offering the possibility to automatize common tasks related to our houses. Home technology is becoming more popular and we are definitely walking towards a world of smart houses.

The Role of Home Technology

Some examples of technology in our homes have been around for years. Televisions and video games, smoke detectors, remote-controlled garage doors: these are all features that incorporated technological advances into our daily lives. Nowadays, many improved features are available and they're designed to work together.

The main trend in home technology is home automation, also known as smart homes. It consists of using computers to control several interconnected home functions. It offers comfort, by simplifying the use of different systems. For example, it's possible to control heating and air conditioning, open the curtains or turn on specific lights; all from one control panel.

Security is also enhanced. Smart homes provide remote access to security cameras, send alerts every time a door opens and monitor smoke and gas detectors and the information can be accessed from anywhere.

Diagram of a Smart Home
Diagram of a Smart Home

All the different elements are controlled and interconnected through one single software. Having a remote controller for each device is now obsolete and a single touch-screen with internet access is enough to access all systems.

The smart home can also help improve energy consumption habits. The system studies the regular usage and provides recommendations. It can also unplug certain devices and automatically adjust others to optimize the use of energy.

Maintenance chores are also becoming easier with the help of robotic equipment. No more fighting with the kids to cut the grass: there are robotic lawn mowers that can do it! Similarly, floor vacuum cleaners can keep indoor rooms tidy.

Roomba, a cleaning robot
Roomba

Almost everything you can think of can be added to a smart home system. The only limit is the imagination... and the budget. But this technology is becoming more affordable every year.

Home Technology in Home Design

For architects, engineers and construction firms, all the new technological features mean that houses need to keep up. The way we design and build is changing and even new professions are emerging, like the electronic system contractors, who install and configure smart systems so that everything works smoothly.

Having a smart home doesn't mean it has to be a contemporary or minimalist place. The automation features can be adapted to any design style.

Internet access is now vital because most devices are connected through the web. In the old days, a couple of phone outlets were enough and an internet modem would be plugged into one. Nowadays, wireless signals are taken into consideration and the location of the modem is studied to maximize efficiency. The location of signal repeaters is also foreseen.

The interconnection of all systems is the key for smart houses to work. For larger systems, the servers and control panels can be significantly big. Therefore, designers often define a room or service closet for all the equipment and all the wiring lines go in there. The ventilation of this place is also considered.

Huge TV screens are very popular so rooms are being specially designed to accommodate them. These entertainment areas often have consoles for playing video games.

Home Cinema and Entertainment Room
home cinema

Dedicated lines and outlets are needed for communication cables and for installing security cameras, audio systems, automated curtains, and much more. This additional construction work can be expensive so it is good to discuss it in advance between house owners, designers and contractors.

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