We Designed A House Powered Entirely By Smart Technology

We Designed A House Powered Entirely By Smart Technology
Husqvarna’s Automower 305, a robotic lawnmower

Walking up to Gizmodo’s imaginary smart house is rather an anticlimax. A modern house powered by smart technology looks like any other home. There are no Jetsons-esque robot maids, jetpacks or levitating buildings. Voice control is getting better, but it’s still no Jarvis. So don’t expect anything radical. What a smart house really is, is just a more frictionless existence.

As we’ve written about before, setting up a smart home is damn hard work. You can buy “smart” versions of almost everything nowadays, from piggy banks to egg trays , but you probably shouldn’t. A lot of these devices boast functions barely better than their “dumb” counterparts, and, thanks to competing ecosystems, most don’t play well together anyway.

The cheapest and simplest way to go down the smart tech path is to use a service like If This Then That to connect your devices and services together, to have them actually be “smart” — to interact and react to your wants and needs. There are a fair few devices now that complement this strategy.

Smart home image via Shutterstock

Leading the way in cutting-edge technology for window coverings, LUXAFLEX® has launched PowerView Motorisation, and is partnering with Gizmodo to show Australians how they can experience the smart house of the future, today.

From The Outside

Husqvarna’s Automower 305, a robotic lawnmower

The first clues that our smart is in fact different from the rest are only there if you know what you’re looking for. The garden is pristine, saved by technology from my black thumb and general distinerest. The lawn kept in check my by robot lawn mower, while the the Rachio smart sprinkler waters everything just the right amount, depending on the weather and season. There probably is no better example of the convenience offered by smart tech — I only have to step outside to enjoy my garden, not to maintain it.

Moving down the path, the next level of smart tech is equally hidden. The security cameras that I have installed around the property have come alive, and are recording my movements, storing the images and automatically emailing a clip to my phone. Paired with my D-link smart alarm and smoke detector, this has kept the home safe and sound, just how I left it.

All this while, the smartphone in my pocket has been communicating with my home. Linking your smart devices with your phone’s location is one of the most powerful connections you can make — devices and services can automatically shut down while your away, and make preparations for your return. In fact, as I draw closer the house is starting to come alive. The front door’s smart lock clicks open with a wave of my phone. I’m in, and all without keys.

On The Inside

Stepping through the front door triggers a whole bunch of new actions. The nest smart thermometers has long ago kicked in to gear, making the house a comfortable temperature for my return. But now the lights and blinds have come alive, greeting me with the perfect scene for the time of day. The main lights, equipped with Philips Hue bulbs, are at the perfect level — just dim enough to see. The lamps dotted through the house — my preferred light source, have turned on thanks to the Belkin Wemo switches. The Luxaflex blinds on the western side of the house rise, ready to capture the setting of the sun.

Once inside, motion sensors and voice commands take over from my phone as a location source, and the house reacts as I move through it. Lights turn off in rooms I leave, while others illuminate rooms I enter. I ask Alexa, my voice assistant, to tell me the results of the latest NBA game, and put some music on my wireless speakers. Maybe some Jazz on Spotify.

iRobot’s Braava robot mop

The cleaning robots start to wind down as I walk through the house — moving back to their base stations after a tough day. My roomba passes me as I enter the lounge — battery flagging after a long day of cleaning. The mopping robot is already parked in a corner as I continue on to the kitchen for dinner.

Winding Down

After dinner the house is starting to wind down. The smart dishwasher is whirling away, taking care of the washing up, automatically adjusting to the contents. My washing machine is hard at it too, all I have to do is await a notification as its coming to the end of the cycle.

The lights have automatically dimmed throughout the night, encouraging sleep. The blinds have automatically closed, the doors are locked. There’s no alarm to set before I go to sleep, my fitbit will wake me if I’m out too long. The lights will all turn on if the buzzing alone doesn’t get me.