Imagine a home you can control with the touch of a button or your voice. Smart technology is revolutionising living spaces, combining automated living with comfort and convenience.
Visitors to the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas were given the opportunity to experience smart living technology during a tour of Caesars Entertainment's The LINQ hotel and casino.
Lights, air conditioning and curtains are just some of the features in hotel rooms that guests staying at The LINQ will be able to control using the phone application, WeChat. The app was developed by Ayla Networks, a Silicon Valley-based company.
"Ayla-powered devices can basically be controlled by any app via any home hub that runs on Zigbee, Z-wave or Wi-Fi," says Ayla's PR representative, Sharon Chan.
Caesars Entertainment welcomes the partnership. "Collaborating with leading companies like Ayla and WeChat helps make our customers feel even more at home when they can interact in our resorts using technology and apps like WeChat," the company said in a statement.
Similarly in Beijing, Panasonic is working with Starwood Hotels and Resort Group on a project at the Westin Hotel Beijing Financial District where 47 'Green Room' guest rooms were fitted with Eco-POWER METERs and tablets to control lighting and appliances within the room. Electricity consumption is made viewable in real-time through tablets for the guest and a back-end system for the management thereby promoting energy saving for the user as well as cost savings for the hotel.
Interactive hotel rooms like those at The LINQ and Westin Hotel are perhaps just the beginning of what smart living will look and feel like. Industry insiders predict that by 2020 our homes will be even smarter with remote monitoring technologies which can help alleviate security concerns, as well as next-generation smoke detectors that can also measure air quality.
Feeling more at home with smart and sustainable living technology
Smart technology, coupled with sustainable building features, is an indicator of what 'the home of the future' will look like. Companies like PanaHome (a subsidiary of Panasonic) has been effecting change by marrying smart living technology with sustainable building methods, and the results can be seen in the form of projects like the CASART TERRA smart house - a home with near zero-CO2 emissions.
The shell of the house is fully insulated and includes low-e double-glazed windows to minimise heat transference. Inside, PanaHome's unique ECONAVI™ ventilation system reduces the need for air conditioning by drawing air that is naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter from under the floorboards into the home. Sensors gauge outside temperatures and the system automatically utilises natural and mechanical ventilation systems to help maintain optimal indoor temperatures.
Another key feature is the proprietary Panasonic Home Energy Management System (HEMS) used within the property, which combines a photovoltaic power generation system and an energy storage battery, making energy visualisation and management effortless for home owners.
The near-future of smart home technology
A case study by the European Commission states that the global growth of residential construction is expected to be 5.6 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and 4.4 per cent between 2015 and 2020, with smart construction being a new and growing trend in the industry.
As more government legislations and incentives are rolled out in support of smart and sustainable housing, we can expect to see more innovative, eco-friendly building projects that incorporate energy efficiency and intelligent use of technology into the living spaces of tomorrow.
Green building councils and associations, for example the Building Construction Authority Singapore and Green Building Council Indonesia, are actively promoting development of green buildings via assessment tools such as Green Mark rating system and GREENSHIP rating tools respectively. Developers and construction companies are also likely to adopt more green building practices.
From hotel rooms to the CASART TERRA smart house to your very own home, smart technology is paving the way for a future of sustainable living. Where will you live tomorrow?