ElectricalDirect explains the benefits of embracing smart buildings, and gives a guide on the latest technology available out there.
If your customers are looking to save time, money and energy, and make their properties more secure, then smart home technology may soon become their go-to product range. Britain’s shift towards Smart Homes is growing at a promising rate and there has never been a better time to evolve your skill set to include these new technologies.
Currently, the industry is worth just under £1 billion a year, and the projections for the industry reflect a growing demand that is set to continue.
Being a new technology, tradespeople are still building their knowledge, with only 1,250 Smart Home technology installers estimated to be in the UK for what is forecast to be a £120 billion industry by 2020.
Connected smart technology makes for a more efficient, flexible home (or office) – with the help of a smartphone app to take control of heating, lighting, appliances and security whether at home or away.
From lights to doors, windows and everyday appliances, specialist trade supplier ElectricalDirect has created a guide for tradespeople on the types of smart technology available to help bring their customers’ projects to life.
To turn a home into a fully connected ‘smart’ environment, the smart home ‘gateway’ simply needs to be connected to the internet, – and the app downloaded which will connect products to a smartphone – before setting up the smart devices. Each brand will have its own unique app to download, but they can also be used with Amazon Alexa and Echo for hands-free, voice-controlled operation, such as turning lights on or off with a simple voice command.
Many products do not even need a router or hub to get some of the benefits of smart home control. Switches and sockets only require a remote control to operate simple on/off functions, and as such, they can be a straightforward way of easing gently into the world of smart home. Remote control functions make it easy to turn off a number of sockets and switches at once, saving time – all done simply at the touch of a button.
Motion sensors, such as the MiHome motion sensor, are placed around the property and can alert the home or business owner if motion is detected, and when linked with other products it can create scenarios such as ‘motion detected, lights on’.
Door and window security
For security purposes, open sensors placed on doors and windows provide peace of mind when away from home by monitoring the movement of these entry points, providing an instant alert to the smartphone when either opened or disturbed, for example the MiHome open sensor.
Smart sockets (such as the Energenie MiHome double wall socket) will turn any electrical appliance into a smart product, enabling users to remotely control appliances, monitor usage and running costs.
Remote control sockets and extension leads make it easier to control those hard-to-reach sockets, meaning there is a simpler, no-wiring alternative to wirelessly controlling electrical appliances. The MiHhome Adaptor starter pack has a full 30m range and uses a high radio frequency, which means it does not even need a clear line of sight to turn off energy wasting appliances.
To enhance security, remotely controlling some home appliances will help to give the illusion that the home is occupied when the homeowner is elsewhere, therefore deterring intruders.
Existing light switches can be easily replaced to create a fully remote controllable lighting system, where you can switch lights on and off, as well as dimming them, from any location. This is particularly useful for darker winter months, and for providing added security by illuminating an empty home. The Lightwave RF dimmer is a fully dimmable smart switch with an attractive stainless steel finish.
Homeowners can also create more energy efficient zoned heating within a property by heating only the rooms in use. Simple-to-fit radiator valves from MiHome allow homeowners to adjust the radiator wherever they are and enable them to monitor energy usage from the app.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
Many smart home products are also compatible with IFTTT technology, which links smart devices to external apps. IFTTT consists of a trigger (e.g. the weather app says it is cold today) followed by an action (turn on heater), or if the home sensor is activated, call someone from Outlook contacts. The possibilities of IFTTT are limitless and it is a great way of using smart home products to their full capabilities.
For further information, ElectricalDirect has created a handy buying guide for the entire home.