For all of its efficiency and livability, the smartest aspect of HGTV Smart Home 2014—and the highlight of every tour its future owners will give their guests—is its cutting edge technology.
"We went full tilt with smart features," says project technology designer Jason Moore, "but only proven ideas, nothing that's still in its '1.0' stage, because it takes a few generations of a new product to iron out the bugs and get things right." Smart Home is not a place for beta testing every new gadget on the market; it's about creating a high-tech experience that's just as trouble-free as it is state-of-the-art.
The smarts start with the interface used to operate the home's electronics. All of the technology in this house, and there's a lot of it, can be operated from the tablet and smart phone that come with the property (or from any computer or smart device). So, there's no need to stand up—or even to be at home—to walk over to a light switch, thermostat or window shade. Family members can fine-tune everything via an app. Sometimes they won't even have to do that; many of the devices are smart enough to adjust themselves.
Rather than typical banks of on/off switches, the lighting throughout Smart Home 2014 is on dimmers with wireless connectivity. Using any smart screen, the homeowners can create various pre-set scenes, for different activities, and also make on-the-fly adjustments. That includes turning off all the lights in the house with one click and illuminating different lights on different nights when the family is out of town.
Similarly, the thermostats can be adjusted remotely, so all it takes is a smart phone to set the heat or air conditioning temperature from anywhere in the house, or from the car while on the way back from that family vacation.
The security system—which includes burglary, fire, and carbon monoxide protection—can all be operated remotely, as can the front-door lock, the hardwired outdoor cameras aimed at each entrance, and mobile wireless interior cameras, which can provide additional burglary detection (or serve as baby monitors or nanny cams).
"If you're at work, you could see the plumber at the door, shut off the alarm, and unlock the deadbolt for him, and then button everything back up when he's done," says Moore.
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