While many of us still think of ‘smart homes’ as a concept reserved for the super rich (or super geeky), smart home technology is quickly becoming very accessible – and arguably very important for homeowners.
By Aaron Thornton, MD, Dial a Nerd
What exactly is a ‘smart home’?
In the context of the home, ‘smart’ refers to a network of sensors in the house that measures and monitors the environment.
For those who want to boost the value of their homes and make them attractive to millennials and upwardly mobile, tech-savvy buyers (or tenants), smart home setups will be key. Here’s why:
1. Seamless home security
In South Africa, home security is paramount, and without robust security systems in place, property values diminish. Not to mention peace of mind.
One of the key benefits of smart home technology is the ability to monitor and secure your home remotely. In essence, a smart home security system connects to your network, and enables you to monitor and control your sensors and security devices from an app on your smartphone.
Today’s entry-level systems usually include door and window sensors, a motion detector, and a central hub that communicates with these devices using wireless protocols. Every system is highly customisable and can be retrofitted – homeowners can add extra door-, motion- and even garage cameras to enable coverage of the entire home and garage.
2. Enabling water conservation
As the Western Cape emerges from crippling droughts and water shortages, and the problems for the Eastern Cape are still dire, it’s worth remembering that South Africa remains one of the top 30 water scarce countries in the world.
For this reason alone, smart home technology that monitors and controls water usage will become highly valuable.
Take smart water meters, for example, which are capable of reading individual consumption and offer the readings to the consumer in real time. This detailed consumption information helps residents to alter their behaviour.
In addition, real time leakage detection systems can quickly alert residents and homeowners about the incident and action can be taken. Increasingly, cost effective leakage detection systems are becoming available that can be easily deployed by most homeowners.
3. Save energy, save costs
With the rising costs of fuel and electricity in South Africa, smart home technology can provide important energy savings. Put simply, smart home systems and devices help save energy by allowing the user to monitor and control energy usage in various ways.
Notably, research has revealed that smart home setups can save up to 40 percent of heating costs
To begin with, smart adapter plugs or wall buttons allow users to turn any electrical appliances on or off completely – or measure the consumption to identify the guilty power guzzlers.
In addition, smart home apps enable users to monitor devices remotely and see which should be switched off (or are switched off). Users can also deactivate all electrical appliances with a single push-button when leaving their home.
Looking ahead, as resources such as water and power become more scarce and more costly, home owners who choose to invest in smart home technology will be better positioned to thrive… and to enjoy the conveniences of a seamlessly connected home.