The "internet of things" is big news right now. It’s the idea that anything with an electrical plug can become a “smart” device, connected to the web.
Companies like Intel have been busy showcasing everything from smart gas metres to intelligent washing machines but it is only recently this smart technology is moving out of the showroom and into your home.
For an idea of what you can expect from a futuristic home, look no further than the new ultra high-tech Ebony Suite at the May Fair Hotel, whose gadgetry includes a colour-changing bathtub, heat-sensitive sinks and a £25,000 toilet that will... well, you can probably work that out for yourself.
Almost everything in a modern home can be digitalised and personalised to save you time. The latest homes have fully programmable central heating, allowing you to save energy in the rooms you don’t use; light sensitive blinds to keep the sun out of your eyes without a trip to the window (not that you would notice, given the recent weather); smart metres that can connect to the national grid and switch between providers to get you the cheapest deal at different times of the day.
The question is – are these just luxuries or are tech homes also a savvy investment? Charlie Bubear, from Savills Chelsea, said: “It is a very mixed opinion. There are those who love to have all the toys and want to be able to control their TV, curtains, fireplace and everything else from one controller and there are those who find that far too complicated and would rather a simple dimmer switch to turn on the light.
“Developers will always put in the maximum amount of technology as, on the whole, it does add value.
“However, this isn’t always the case – I have sold properties where someone has installed £200,000 worth of electronic gadgets and the buyer has had it all removed – it really is down to the individual.
“It should be a consideration for sellers, though – most people do put it in as it is a selling point.”
While the jury may be out on whether installing the latest kit will make you rich, it will certainly make your life easier. People already expect the latest technology in their cars, be it smart brakes to make them safer or air-conditioning to make them more pleasant. But even the longest commuters spend more time at home than they do on the road. So what are you waiting for?
CASE STUDY 1:
Imagine a home that knows to have a steaming hot bath ready the moment you come home from work. Now stop imagining it and move to Waterford House. Other gadgetry in this tech haven includes blinds and curtains controlled by wifi tablets; biometric and keypad entry controls; a “what’s turned on” screen to see where you are spending money on electricity and fully centralised control over lighting – great for both security and convenience. Contact Knight Frank on 01344 840 020.
CASE STUDY 2:
For the best part of £20m, you expect a few bells and whistles. Fountain House certainly provides them. Almost everything can be controlled with Star Trek-style central control panels, including lighting, audio-visual, curtains and blinds. It comes with a 16 point stereo system, video entry, built-in BluRay and iPod docks and the ready-laid wiring to add even more gadgetry. All that, and it looks rather nice, too. Time to get saving. Contact Knight Frank on 020 7226 1313.
CASE STUDY 3:
If security is your number one concern, this high-tech fortress could be your dream home. The bathroom doubles up as a safe-room – just close the door in a certain way and three steel bars will make sure no intruder can follow you inside. The advanced camera security system is all centrally controlled and you can even keep an eye on what is going on while you are abroad by watching the video feed on your iPad. Contact Savills on 020 7226 1313.