We may not have flying cars in every driveway, but the house of the future is here. Digital connectivity is the must-have feature contractors and interior designers keep in their toolkit, and these tech trends are available as upgrades in older homes, as well. Digital technology is becoming more affordable and commonplace, so keep your eyes out for the latest in Wi-Fi- enabled and networked appliances and advanced cable TV.
A New Level in Home Security
Since home security systems first linked home entry and fire detection to police and fire stations, digital home security has been the backbone of personal safety technology. Now systems can detect carbon monoxide, temperature increases and water leaks, and send the data to municipal agencies while simultaneously alerting the owner by text, email or phone. If your home has a Wi-Fi network, it can easily be equipped with indoor and outdoor digital camera systems that enable you to securely log into your system via your smartphone and check on your house and children. Digital cameras in the home have eased the minds of working parents everywhere, whether they’re checking on teenagers or monitoring a new babysitter.
Going Green With Technology
Going green at home can help you reduce your monthly utility bills and may even provide you with tax breaks. Digital technology can help. If you set your thermostat back 10 degrees for eight hours, you can save 5 to 15 percent off your electric bill. Digital thermostats enable the user to program times to increase and decrease the temperature, so you can set it to the most cost-efficient levels when no one’s home and make it comfortable for your return.
In addition, digital sensors are available for irrigation systems so plants only get watered when they need it. These systems collect data on the time of day, amount of moisture in the soil and temperature highs and lows, and then make calculations to deliver the best amount of water at the right time of the day.
Life Made Easier, Courtesy of Technology
Take a look at LG’s smart washer-and-dryer combo that links to your smartphone and entertainment network. If you’re out, you can use your phone to start, stop or check on your laundry cycle. The system can be programmed to give laundry updates on your TV screen, so you can pause your show, pull out clothes for folding and get back to your stories (unfortunately, digital technology does not fold clothes… yet).
Samsung has a refrigerator with digital technology that maintains four temperature zones, keeps track of “good by” dates and even suggests what to make for dinner based on what’s in your fridge. There’s an accompanying smartphone app that lets you monitor food usage and create a grocery list, too.
Then there’s the programmable iRobot vacuum system, which cleans carpet, linoleum and hardwood floors. There’s also a body scale that links to your Wi-Fi, so you can sync it with the fitness programs at your gym.
Just Plain Cool
Telecommunications giant AT&T is coming out with their own home automation system called Digital Life, which offers a digital home security system along with the latest in automated home appliances. You control all of it from anywhere, at any time, from any Web-enabled device—smartphone, tablet or desktop. AT&T also offers U-verse, their all-digital home entertainment system that includes digital TV, an integrated digital home phone and remote mobile access. Digital Life isn’t available in all neighborhoods yet, so make sure to check your local cable provider.
It’s a new, awe-inspiring era of digital connectivity in the home our parents and grandparents never could have fathomed.