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A day in a smart home

In future, we’ll be aided throughout the day by the smart home. But what does a typical smart day look like?

Although the general future of living is called ‘smart home’, everyone will use it in their own way. Some people will build their smart home around their computer, for others it will revolve around their TV and home entertainment, while other people might focus on the environment and sustainability. But however you use it, the smart home will be with us throughout the day. Spend a day with us in the home of the future!

6.30am: The wake-up light alarm clock slowly starts to glow, grows brighter, and simulates a sunrise – which is more radiant in summer than in winter, of course. As a result, we’re woken up very gently and also in a natural, healthy way. And because we’ve given the light alarm clock 15 minutes’ leeway, if our activity tracker bracelet has noticed during the night that we’re sleeping restlessly, the alarm clock allows us an extra 15 minutes. Oh well – not reading the newspaper for a change won’t do any harm!

6.45am: The bathroom heater starts to warm up the bathroom so we won’t get cold feet later on. The shutters go up, providing natural light in all rooms.

7am: The internet radio starts playing music as soon as we’re in the shower. Afterwards, still yawning, we step on the smart scales. However, we don’t check the display – for what matters isn’t just today’s weight, but the daily records over the past few months. The change in our body weight is automatically reflected in the recipes suggested by the refrigerator.

7.30am: The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafts out of the kitchen. When the refrigerator notes that we’ve taken out a carton of milk without putting it back, it adds milk to the shopping list in the cloud.

8am: When we sit in the car and start the engine, it’s strangely quiet. There’s no music because we’ve left our smartphone on the kitchen table. We’ll just nip back inside …

8.03am: Having picked up our smartphone, we finally set off. With us out of the way, our smart home can start tidying up. The robot vacuum cleaner glides diligently through the rooms, while in the garden the automatic lawn mower gets down to work.

9.23am: The sun has now reached a good position for our photovoltaic system to charge our solar energy storage system. During the day, the house automatically controls the indoor temperature. In summer, the shutters are lowered to keep out the light and heat, preventing the need to cool the interior.

10.03am: As soon as the energy storage units are full, our smart home starts the washing machine, tumble dryer and other appliances. Any surplus energy is automatically fed into the smart grid, which uses it to power factories and offices. And that earns us a few more euros towards our next holiday!

11.17am: We receive a text message from our smart home to let us know there might be a potential burglar sneaking around outside our house. We start the camera app and sigh with relief as we see it was just the neighbour’s cat!

3.11pm: The weather’s getting worse. In response to data measured by our smart home and the storm warning announced by the German Meteorological Office, our house decides to lower the shutters (if they’re still up) and switches all electronic devices to standby mode.

6.35pm: On the way home, we stop off briefly at the supermarket. The automatically generated shopping list is opened using an app and includes the milk added this morning. Moreover, fresh fruit and vegetables have been added. It seems the bathroom scales have also had their say!

7pm: When we arrive home, our hands are too full to unlock the front door. But we don’t have to, for thanks to the combination of a wireless chip in our smartphone and voice recognition, the door opens by itself. Our smart home comes to life again, opening the shutters and playing the playlist we’ve just been listening to in the car at full volume.

7.15pm: Our replenished refrigerator suggests three recipes designed to help us get fitter and achieve our desired weight. Once we’ve decided to cook pumpkin soup, the multi-cooker starts heating up all by itself.

8pm: We’d like to put our feet up, but first we have to take care of some paperwork. The lighting changes to bright daylight colours, which are better for reading and working. When the TV realizes we aren’t sitting on the sofa, it carefully records our favourite series so we can watch it later.

8.35pm: Done! Our triumphant “Finished!” is recognized by the stereo as a sign to turn the music up again. To match the different mood, the lighting now switches to warm, friendly colours, transforming the living room into a cosy lounge.

8.45pm: After a brief dance of joy, we finally have time to relax on the couch and watch ‘The Voice of Germany’. Thanks to the programme’s app connected to our Philips Hue (see info box), we can enjoy the show complete with surround sound and original lighting effects, creating just the right atmosphere!

Smart home using the example of Philips Hue

Fancy making your own four walls a bit smarter? All you need is the Philips Hue lighting system – LED bulbs remotely controlled using a ‘bridge’. The bridge is connected to your home’s DSL router and can be easily controlled by your smartphone as well as virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa. Then all you need to do to switch on the light is to click your fingers. Alternatively, say “Party time!” loudly and the system will flood the room with colourful light. Or if you prefer, it can switch to bright white if you want to work or read – or give you warm, gentle lighting if you’d rather stretch out on the couch and listen to quiet music. Hue is available for standard bulb sockets, and also as standalone light fittings and light strips for furniture.

Another exciting smart home service is ‘If This Then That’ – a combined app and web service. The application connects the internet, your smartphone and the Internet of Things (IoT). It can send a tweet when you arrive home, or turn off your Philips Hue lighting when you go out.

9pm: It’s now pitch dark outside. The shutters are lowered in all the rooms to keep the heat in and protect us from prying gazes.

11.45pm: ‘The Voice of Germany’ has now finished, and our smart TV asks if we want to watch anything else. Our “No, thanks” switches it off automatically without having to lift a finger.

11.50pm: We go to bed, read for a while, and say “Good night!” to our smart home – which then switches off all the lights and activates the burglar alarm.