13/09/2013 08:33 BST | Updated 24/03/2014 08:59 GMT

Home Automation: A Necessity?

Giant home cinemas, inventive automatic lighting, powerful surround sound speakers- home automation is a form of technology that has fascinated me for some time now. The spark was originally ignited from watching home makeover shows where a person's plain, overly ordinary house was transformed into a stylish, modern home through charming furnishings and state of the art technology. Being a naturally lazy human being, the idea that one device can control an entire room, even an entire house, was intoxicating. After an extensive amount of research and initially a buying spree of lottery tickets, I discovered that numerous residential developers across the UK are incorporating this advanced technology into their companies as if it were brick to a builder. Not only that, market prices are falling monthly as more of this technology is being manufactured, making this technology much more accessible to individual home owners.

So, what is home automation? Visualize controlling your entire home from anywhere in the world, at any time, from one device. Imagine going abroad and being able to have access to a live stream of CCTV from your home. Or picture going to work and realising that you have left the gas on and being able to switch it off from your current location via your intelligent device (i.e. a phone or tablet). This is home automation.

Further examples include being able to change the 'mood' setting of houses, i.e. dimming the lighting, changing the music, turning on electrical fires, all in one touch. Perfect for all the bachelor/ bachelorettes out there. Automated security systems, as briefly outlined above, could include installing motion detectors and advanced alarm systems meaning that when somebody enters a room which you are 'watching', your device will notify you and provide you with system reports. Pretty clever, right?

Systems offered by home automation companies such as AM Intelligent Homes and iSmart Homes, integrate the electrical appliances and features in a property, so controlling them only requires one sole device, one remote control so to speak. By interconnecting the internal structures of electrical systems within the home, it turns a house into a self-regulating, eco-friendly, wireless mechanism.

As a side point, technology has long been blamed for creating a communication wedge within families. Children want to spend less time outdoors and more time in virtual reality. Televisions, laptops and mobile phones result in less face-to-face interaction and more written forms of speech. Is this technology going to present similar issues? Is there such a thing as too much technology?

On the contrary, I believe that automated technology's convenience and energy efficiency makes the lives of household members that much easier and cost efficient. For example, when a room becomes empty, the lights will automatically go off, saving electricity. More intelligent systems include features such as when a person leaves the house, the operator has the option to turn all electrics off, including lighting. Energy bills would be less of a shock to our system, possibly resulting in less domestic bickering. Plus, long gone are the days of having to get up to turn off the electrics!

Personally, to have this technology at my disposal, and within my budget, would be the dream. Unfortunately, even though stock prices are continuing to fall, I may have to save up for a couple of millenniums (student budget) before I can create my 'home of the future'!

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