What is the Smart Home?

Posted on November 3, 2020

Here at the Smart Homes and Buildings Association we think that we know all about what a Smart Home is but we’d probably be wrong. The problem is that there are so many interconnecting aspects to a smart home and it means different things to different people depending on what their relationship is with “The Smart Home”. 

So the Smart Home is basically a home in which the people who live in it are helped through life, entertained, kept warm and healthy and safe by the systems and infrastructure of the home as well as the smart home services that keep the systems running and also provide the occupants of the home active mentally and possibly physically. A smart home will also provide systems that lessen costs of running the home and especially in keeping the occupants warm and comfortable. This is the perception of the people in the home and is perhaps what the Smart Home is all about. 

But there are other perspectives; comfort, economy and wellbeing provided for the home as well as all the smart devices in the home are services that service providers deliver to people at home and they form a value proposition to the service providers and providers of systems that on the one hand save end users costs and on the other make money for service providers and retailers engaging with the occupiers and the manufacturers and wholesalers interfacing with them in their turn.

Equally, a smart home depends on its fabric being capable of supporting systems and the majority of houses in the UK are not capable of delivering the zero carbon and energy neutrality that a country needs to meet the levels of CO2 emission that will prevent runaway global warming. A level of smartness in the Smart Home is the energy efficiency of the building and of the 29 million or so houses in the UK only a very small number can currently in any way deliver the energy neutrality that will deliver comfort and warmth with minimal heating and deliver the carbon zero conditions we will need by 2050 (and this includes almost every new house built by the major house builders today). 

Lastly, we are entering a new paradigm of working where people must for the foreseeable future avoid congregating in offices and places of entertainment and hospitality in order to prevent cross infection of diseases, currently this is COVID-19 but there will be an ever increasing round of new infectious diseases that mean the Smart Home will need to compensate for the loss of the workplace, of pubs and theatres by much better and interactive virtual entertainment, greater comfort and the ability to work from home without placing constraints on households.

These aspects of the smart home give rise to a multitude of conflicting objectives to bring about the Smart Home that resolves all the conflicting objectives. 

This is what SH&BA is all about – understanding the Smart Home in the round and to help people and organisations to achieve an ubiquity of smart homes: In doing this and over the next couple of years SH&BA will run a series of monthly webinars that will inform and discuss the options and requirements concerning all of the issues around the Smart Home:

The first set of webinars is in progress and we’re covering the Market, Health care, and the energy perspective into the future so that the UK can meet its 2050 CO2 and energy neutrality targets. We’ll look at physical and cyber security, at where the benefits lie, how we look after our elderly and deep retrofit for the smart home.

So watch this space, join SH&BA and attend our webinars and follow our blogs.