The True Value of a Smart Home

Today I want to talk about a Smart Home in terms of brass tax (or so you may initially think). In a climate where the line between ‘Smart Homes’ and ‘Smart Gadgets’ seems incredibly blurred it’s important to outline what we at Collison’s consider to be a Smart Home.

Smart Home or Smart Gadget?

Todays statistics show that in the UK over 20% of households own a smart speaker of some sort. The most common of these is naturally the Amazon Alexa or the Google Home. A further 6% of households own a ‘smart thermostat’ such as the Nest or Hive. Finally around 8% own some other ‘smart’ device such as door security or lighting. Although I too have to confess to owning at least one of these devices at some point, they are what we consider to be causing the confusion over what a Smart Home should be.

As ‘smart’ as these devices claim to be they are originally designed to be standalone appliances. Although some integration is possible with standalone devices it was never the original intention. The result has been the introduction of numerous applications (apps) to control your home. Ask yourself how ‘smart’ is your home when your using one app to change your music playlist, a different app to alter the heating and another app to open your front door? Time is a virtue – it’s the one thing in life we can’t get back – in which case surely a real Smart Home should save just this, time. In our Smart Homes all aspects of your home are integrated and arguably most importantly truly automated.

As an example a Smart Home should;

  • Heat each room individually and on presence the room should warm up ensuring, to save energy, only the rooms occupied are heated (read more here).
  • Operate lighting on presence dependant on the time of the day, light levels in the room and to your personal preference (read more here).
  • Notify you of any open doors and windows when leaving. On return a simple swipe of a personal ID or keycode should let you back in. (read more here).
  • Play your favourite music in every room. A simple tap on your nearest switch should start your favourite playlist. (read more here).

For us, the Smart Home aspect here is the minimal human interaction required for all these tasks to occur. The Loxone Smart Homes we create dont need an app. Yes there is one for you when you really want it. However we believe for daily tasks your Smart Home should deal with life at home without a second thought from you. We want you to arrive home, put down your smartphone and with the help of your Smart Home, enjoy your downtime.

In conclusion – in my opinion anyway, a Smart Home saves you time. As flash and exciting as a Smart Gadget may be it can inevitably have the opposite effect.

Saving Time with Smart Homes

What’s your time worth?

A simple question so many of us forget to ask. Your time is valuable no matter who you are or what you do. If time is value and a Smart Home saves you time then how do you value a Smart Home? The answer is different for everyone and every Smart Home. We all value our time differently and inevitably no Smart Home is the same as the next. It would be easy for me to pluck a figure out the sky and say a £20,000 investment would see a £25,000 return. However, in an ever fluctuating housing market in a country where house prices differ massively from North to South this can only ever be an estimation. You need to view the potential of a Smart Home dependant on your circumstances.

Self building your forever home?

Perhaps your a selfbuilder or upgrading to a family home to accommodate new arrivals. If your planning on staying in a property for a prolonged period then a Smart Home should really be considered a no brainer. Regardless of the sum spent on upgrading to a Smart Home, the return in your time and improved lifestyle will cover most investments. A truly ‘Smart’ Smart Home designed with you in mind has proved time and time again to create a harmonious and enjoyable home experience. Give us a call today or visit our ‘Smart Homes’ section to find out more.

Luxury Home Development

Developers – looking for that edge over the competition

I’ve no doubt if your a property developer you’ve skimmed through this blog post searching for the clear answer to the original question. What is the true value of a Smart Home? Which I believe you’d interpret as – What is the return on investment for a Smart Home? As developers I understand profit is king so it goes without saying the shrewdness of weighing up the financial costs of different investments when planning developments is understandable. However when considering the integration of a Smart Home I’d ask you to consider two things;

  • The return on investment
  • And the user experience.

It’s true early studies have shown that a Smart Home can give you a healthy ROI in comparison to a property without the technology. However when talking to developers I particularly like to highlight the user experience of a Smart Home;

Let’s take an example of two developments on the same street and let’s assume you and your nearest competitor have built one each. Both are four bedroom high quality builds with some luxury upgrades to the Kitchens and the addition of renewable technologies such as Solar PV and Air Source Heat Pumps. Not that uncommon in today’s quality developments. On sale what are the unique selling points for these properties? If both have near enough the same spec, both are on the same desirable street and both are built by reputable developers which one wins out? It’s likely that in time both would make a decent sale. One of these properties however would prevail. It may simply come down to a nicer colour palette, a prefered bathroom or perhaps a choice of carpet.

Did you say Smart Home?

Now lets add a Loxone Smart Home to the mix. Same scenario, same properties, same street except now you’ve opted to install a Smart Home system. The potential buyer has already viewed your competitors property and makes their way to yours on foot.

As your client approaches the property the patio lights begin to dim up slowly, increasing the light levels until your buyer reaches the front door. Your client is then met by the intercom system and proceeds to push the bell – doing so a bell tone can be heard throughout and through the window your buyer can see the lighting flash. As you greet your client at the front door over your shoulder they can clearly see the video footage of themselves portrayed on the wall mounted display.

Walking through the property all rooms are noticeably comfortable – no overly cold or too hot rooms as in the previous viewing.

Entering the Kitchen although similar to the previous, something is different? The lighting mood ‘relaxed’ has been pre-assigned which has switched off the spotlights, dimmed the counter lighting and turned on the bar pendants. Walking over to the counter you swipe the marble face… this brings to life one of Loxone’s hidden surface switches. The perfect time to showcase Loxone’s ability; you cycle through the lighting moods, operate the bifold window blinds and turn on the music skipping until your client approves of your musical taste. All this by touching the same marble face.

Continuing into…

The Living Room, again a similar layout, you introduce your client to the Loxone app. Bringing up the Living Room page showcases the rooms temperature, the state of the windows (are they open or closed), the lighting mood selected and one more button… Cinema Mode. A simple click and you and your client stand intrigued as the lighting dims, the blinds close and a projector screen concealed in the ceiling lowers displaying the newest Netflix offerings.

Don’t forget the Bedrooms…

Travelling into the Bedrooms the lighting doesn’t operate? Looking confused you explain to your client how light levels in each room are independant and lighting is only switched on as and when it’s required unless you touch a switch first. Cycling through the lighting moods in this room shows off your pre-set lighting operating the spots, bedside lamps and the LED tape lighting concealed in the bed frame.

I’m sure the shades just moved?

Completing your tour and making your way downstairs your client notices the Velux blinds adjust slightly. Bringing up the Loxone app once more displays how ‘Automated Shading’ is active. The Loxone weather sensor is displaying that the sun has come around the house and the landing is now shading itself in order to maintain that comfortable temperature.

In Conclusion

Now which property do we think wins out? With the right mindframe this is where we at Collison’s see the true value of a Smart Home – investing in the user experience and improving the end product. We’re all aware of the impact of reputation – imagine the impact of being a leading Smart Home Developer can have for your business model.

Highlighting the comparisons is one thing but chatting about your requirements is another. Why not give us a call today and let’s see how we can work together to ensure you have the edge over your nearest competition.

Thanks for reading – Joe Collison – Director.

Loxone Surface Touch concealed in Marbel worktop