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The art of home automation

Home automation could soon impact everything from the age of the eggs in our fridge to the tables in which we change our babies. But what will our homes of the future actually look like?

Australians may have been slow to catch up on the smart home trend but studies indicate they will soon more than make up for lost time.

It is anticipated that smart homes will be a $4.7 billion industry by 2021, a significant increase from the $377 million spent on smart home products in 2016.

Studies undertaken by research firm Telsyte shows currently only 40 percent of homes have just one smart home device connected. Yet this number is expected to grow drastically with around 140 million smart home products connected in Australian households by 2021.

The group’s research found that each household will have an average of 30.7 internet-connected devices, 14 of which will be smart-home devices, including products such as smart lights, smart alarms and smart fridges – all of which can be controlled through your smartphone.

Sarah-Jayne Duryea, the director of Home automation specialist group Instinct Electrical, says at its core smart home technology is essentially the integration of different smart technology to deliver time savings or a better environment for homeowners and businesses.

It can be as simple as asking a system such as Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant product Alexa for the recipe for your favourite cocktail, to remotely disarming your home security system via a full c-bus communications protocol.

Duryea says while home automation is still in its infancy in Australia, its potential for changing the way Australians live their lives is almost unmeasurable.

While smart home technology has been available for some time, voice control – through products such as Alexa and Google’s Home – is the single biggest evolution to impact the sector and will continue to be a major feature in smart homes of the future, she says.

“Imagine leaving your house and arming your alarm from your smartphone on the way to the office, at the same time turning off your television, closing your blinds and making sure your air con is in sleep mode. This is the type of control that smart technology gives you. Being by the pool in Fiji and knowing that your energy is being used efficiently for your swimming pool and that your plants are getting the optimum amount of water – that’s the power of smart homes – really the only limit is your imagination.”

She recommends anyone considering building a smart home or converting an existing home to smart home technology first be clear about the functionality they want and what they are prepared to spend to achieve it.

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