First thing in the morning, your blinds open to wake you with healthy, natural sunlight. Moments later one of your favourite energising songs fades up on the room’s speakers. Taking your first comfortable steps on a floor that’s pre-warmed to your ideal temperature, you’re drawn to the kitchen by the smell of coffee where your morning latte stands ready for you, made just the way you like it.
You enjoy it and listen to the upbeat music that followed you into the kitchen on shrewdly hidden speakers, getting ready for the day.
This, and a thousand other experiences like it, is what a smart home feels like. It is these experiences that make the investment worthwhile. Once you recognise that, the processes of planning, purchasing and designing a smart home take on different meanings.
Experience-focused planning, briefing and smart home design
Whether you’re a professional working with a client or an individual thinking of investing in your own smart home design or upgrade, you need to begin at the end. Start with the end result that you or the user wants to experience and work your way backward, designing everything based on this.
The key question is, ‘What do you want to happen in your smart home?’
Dig deep enough into this and you should be able to start creating a pretty good plan or brief.
Other important questions to explore include:
- What will benefit your lifestyle the most?
- What do you find difficult that automation could make easier?
- What do you enjoy or depend on that automation could improve?
- What do you want to happen at different times of the day?
- What would you like to synchronise to make things simpler? (e.g. lights switching on and curtains closing)
These questions require a bit of breaking down, research and consideration to answer, but they are essential to planning a smart home project. Another essential factor is knowing what is possible with smart technology. This may require a professional Smart Systems Integrator or Smart Home Designer. These professionals will help you answer the questions above and more besides. They’ll support you in creating and executing a complete brief for your home or your client’s
Whoever is involved though, it’s good to have some idea of what you want from the start, not least because it will help you pick the right professionals.
Because the ideal smart home is a very subjective thing, it’s important to be clear of what you want and to work with people who will enable and empower your needs and desires, or those of the end user. Some guesswork may be required if the end user isn’t definite, as with commercially built homes for sale. There’s one factor that everyone appreciates in their smart homes though … simplicity.
For more on what to expect from a good, experience-focused smart home, take a look at our page on the subject.
The simplest takeaway: Keep it simple
We could write for months on creating an outstanding smart home experience, and it’s a process that is different for every individual.
Among all this complexity, you can begin with one big, easy takeaway though:
With tech, a great experience is often a simple experience.
Tech can involve a lot of fiddling and wasted time for the end user if it is poorly executed. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the irritation of adding plugging something into our TV system, PC or Stereo (delete as age and preference dictates).
One of the main advantages of smart tech is that it provides all the benefits of cutting-edge technology with none of the common irritations. However, it can only do that when it’s correctly installed with a focus on keeping the user’s life as simple as possible.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”
Leonardo Da Vinci
In practice, this means planning out a complete smart home as a single, experience-focussed project, not a piecemeal series of add-ons.
It’s not all about the shiny tech
Those add-ons usually come in the form of the latest bit of shiny “smart” tech.
Type the words ‘Smart home’ into Amazon and you will get over 50,000 products running from light bulbs to kettles to picture frames. Adding all these things to a home may provide a few buzzes of novelty, but it won’t improve your long-term homelife anywhere near as much as a well-planned smart home designed around your experience though. In fact, a home full of smart gadgets bought without any integration can often make life more complex and fiddly, rather than more enjoyable.
The takeaway here is plan and purchase an integrated smart home solution, rather than a group of gadgets. There are some good off-the-shelf solutions out there, but if these won’t cut it, or they don’t feel personal enough, consider hiring a professional to select and integrate the technologies seamlessly. No need to worry about losing control, a good smart systems integrator or designer will always work around your desires.
Create experiences, don’t add functions
Ultimately, designing a truly enjoyable smart home means creating experiences and solutions that cater for the user. It doesn’t necessarily mean adding functions, but it does mean synchronising them shrewdly.
Take a look at some of the things smart tech can do in a home, then build a picture in your mind of what yours might do for you, and how different systems can come together to give you a particular great experience. If you’re a professional; a designer or architect; consider this when discussing smart tech with your client.
The great thing about truly smart homes is that they learn and adapt to you. This starts with a bespoke installation and continues as your home learns your routines and preferences. The right start can make all the difference here so think carefully on what you want from the start.
Experience-focused smart home design - Takeaways
- Start from the question “What do you want to happen in your smart home?”.
- Focus on the experience, not the tech
- Keep it simple
- Aim for an integrated smart-home project.
- Create experiences and solutions.
Design and experience a superior smart home with Baker Stone
At Baker Stone we know how to create the perfect smart home experience. If you’re planning a smart home for yourself or your clients, get in touch today to ensure it feels just right.