Some service providers can support us without knowing us. Meanwhile, others need to be intimately familiar with our likes, dislikes, and personality. A personal trainer needs to be familiar with our motivations, how we see ourselves, and what our life goals are. Meanwhile, a home help needs to know personal things like how their client likes to spend their free time and how they keep their home. A Smart Home Manager is very similar to these service providers.
Meanwhile, many other services don’t require such personal or social familiarity. I see my local shopkeeper many times a week, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about them, nor they about me. Similarly, a consultant doctor can change their patient’s life with barely any personal knowledge or social exchange.
We mentioned a home help in the first paragraph. That's because a smart home is a lot like one of these professionals, as well as a personal assistant and a butler rolled into one. As such, a smart home manager is a lot like a personal service manager in charge of all these professionals. Like these people, your house’s systems need to know how you spend your personal time and how you keep your home. They also need an idea of your schedule, your likes, and the little quirks of your character that affect your personal choices.
These are all very personal, subjective, nuanced, and emotional things. A smart home’s systems are excellent at learning the data behind these things – If you always turn your lights to a warm orange at around sunset, there are systems that will learn this quirk of your preferences and do it for you. However, smart machines are still a long way from being able to interpret your character traits, make inductive decisions about your quirks, or engage with you to learn how you spend your time.
“One of the things that we’re good at is that we develop relationships with clients where they trust us and let us get on with what they need in their properties”
Andy Baker – Founder of Baker Stone
In other words - Your smart home, intelligent as it may be, can’t build a human relationship with you. For that, you need a good Smart Home Manager.
Despite what you might have heard about Open AI, Smart GPT, or anything else, it is a long time before smart homes will be able to take on this essential role. We here at Baker Stone are satisfied that we won’t be replaced by machines any time soon.
When choosing a smart home manager, most people go for someone who has experience and subject knowledge. These are both important characteristics to look out for (and ones in which Baker Stone excels). However, many professionals in our field can offer these things. There is another characteristic we believe will sort your ideal candidate from the rest: It’s important to go for someone you think you will be able to confide in and trust in a professional and personal way. Someone you feel you can work with and rely on easily and intuitively.
A smart home manager will keep their relationship with you professional. However, they can do their job best when you feel able to disclose personal information to them like the environment you like to sleep in or who you trust around your children.
We mentioned a butler in the third paragraph of this blog. This may seem like an archaic reference, but a smart home manager is like a butler in many ways:
The modern-day equivalent of a butler is probably a house manager, although this professional role is usually more pragmatic and less executive with less delegation. We Smart Home Managers tend to delegate to the smart home systems and tools, rather than the servants.
When you look for a smart home manager, look for some of the characteristics you might look for in a butler. Trustworthiness, empathy, intuition, and (not to be undervalued) someone you can get along well with.
First of all, an important part of the smart home manager’s job is to guide you and fit around you, so working with them should be easy. That said, there are some strategies that can help you get more out of them.
Essentially, you will meet with them and interact with them occasionally to outline your home life and that of your family. Their job is to audit your home environment and smart tech in terms of how well it meets your needs and to decide how this ability can be maintained at a high level and improved. The more they know about what your home environment does to make you happy, what you like about it, what you think could be improved, and what you would like to change, the better they can do their job.
Don’t be afraid to open up to them to assist with this. let them know your little niggles about your home and the quirks of your home life. In this way, they can figure out how to really help you.
One trouble clients often have is they may bump into a problem we could solve or a strong point we could take advantage of, notice it temporarily, and then go on with their day, thinking of more important things. By the time they get to the meeting, that thing is forgotten. To avoid this, make a point of remembering these things. Try taking regular voice notes and perhaps have a quick chat about the problems, needs, and sources of happiness your home environment presents you with. Kids are great at noticing and processing things our busy minds skim over, so be sure to ask their opinion.
You will benefit from having a smart home manager you can trust and build a close, professional relationship with. When you are looking to engage someone in this role, look for someone you can get along well with. Also, be on the lookout for empathy, trustworthiness, intuition, and depth of knowledge. From the point when you take them on, be open with them. Where possible, take note of the important issues from day to day to bring to their attention.
Are you wondering if you might get along with Andy Baker, George Stone or one of our other smart home management experts? Book a meeting to find out.
There’s a saying in the tech industry that says ‘The flaw in most computer systems is the big, fleshy lump of meat sat in front of them.’
To put this in security system terms, how many times have you watched a Hollywood crime thriller where the criminal sneaks past the security desk or CCTV cameras while the guard on duty is asleep.
Home security system flaws are just as likely to be human errors as their Hollywood counterparts. Here though, it’s more likely to be lack of reaction to an alarm or the simple fact that people can’t monitor security systems all the time – By the time someone reviews the CCTV recording and identifies the individual in it, they are long gone and unlikely to be found again.
Unlike us lazy humans, smart home security systems can monitor themselves all the time.
In the instance of the ignored alarm, smart systems can assess threats and intelligently differentiate between an intruder, a pet, and a postman (for example). This allows them to reliably prioritise alerts and only sound smart alarms when essential, which means more attention gets paid to them. What’s more, rather than blaring out to the local neighbourhood, modern smart security systems can intelligently alert the people who will care and can act. If you’re on holiday for example, they can alert a family member to review the CCTV recording and contact the police. On which note …
In smart CCTV systems, the self-monitoring characteristic of smart security systems allows them to really come into their own. A smart camera system can differentiate between a human and an animal, and even recognise the humans that should be in a particular area, as well as those that shouldn’t. Some smart security cameras can zoom in on perceived threats to make identification easier, cutting down on the all-too-frequent incidence of intruders being caught on camera, but still unidentifiable.
“People often represent the weakest link in the security chain and are chronically responsible for the failure of security systems.”
Bruce Schneier, security professional and lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School
With the correct setup and programming by an expert, these security systems can even identify and prioritise a threat. Smart surveillance systems monitor the behaviour of individuals seen on camera or on other sensors, highlight any questionable behaviour and send the relevant recording to owners or managers for review. This allows the system, together with operators, to pick and execute the correct response quickly. As well as alerting the right people rapidly and cutting down on false alarms, modern smart surveillance systems can coordinate with other smart systems, such as access control systems to actively respond to threats as they are developing.
For example, if a smart surveillance system detects that someone is breaking into a particular room, it can lock internal doors leading out of the room and lower smart security shutters. This can all be done in addition to sounding the alarm and letting chosen individuals know via their mobiles.
Many people worry about the potential of smart security systems to endanger individual privacy. This is completely understandable – Our privacy and that of our families are our greatest assets, and there are many stories on the news of compromises from China to Chester. This is why Baker Stone works with providers who respect individual privacy using methods that preserve the same. In fact, because premium smart security systems can control what information is accessed by whom at multiple different points, they can be more private than traditional systems. This is particularly true when they are installed by skilled experts. That said, there are situations where smart security systems can pose unavoidable privacy problems.
Of course, one of the biggest worries is always the unknown. That’s why we like to start with a conversation to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of smart security systems and choose one that you are comfortable with or not, if you prefer. Click on this link to book a meeting for a frank and honest discussion with one of our experts
The ultimate advantage of a smart security system is the peace of mind gained from the knowledge that your home is secure. To guarantee this, we select and commission only the finest systems and keep astride of developing smart security technology to ensure that your home and family are secure and satisfied. From initial meeting to installation to management, we maintain an open and honest relationship with our clients to let them know exactly how their security is being maintained.
Book a meeting using the link below to start ensuring your security with us today on the link below.
Whether it’s for the environment’s sake or because of the ever-increasing cost of power in 2022, saving energy at home has never seemed so important. Efforts are being redoubled to reduce the effects of climate change and energy prices are being pushed up to new heights by the energy crisis. Both of these things can be aided by effective use of smart home tech.
The good news is that savings from this are very impressive at the moment and set to get even better as technology advances and use becomes more widespread.
I’m going to start by warning you that there’s a lot of bad news in this first section. Everything gets rosier as we look at the current and future potential of smart home technology further down the page though.
Let’s kick off with a review of recent developments that could come as a big shock to many:
In the year 2000, fossil fuels supplied 80% of the world’s total primary energy consumption.
What do you think the percentage was in 2019 after the Kyoto Protocol took hold and The Paris Agreement had been reached?
That’s according to a report by Professor Mark Diesendorf, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTech Sydney
It's a sad state of affairs. In 2019, fossil fuels supplied more of the world’s total primary energy consumption than they had nineteen years earlier. That number outlines the urgency with which we need to alter our energy habits in order to promote real, positive change.
Around a quarter of the UK’s energy consumption is accounted for by domestic use. The industrial sector has cut its consumption by around two-thirds since the early 1970s. unfortunately though, British homes are still consuming the same amount as they did seven decades ago. Serious change is needed, and there are two big steps to be taken:
The importance of insulating homes to energy efficiency has been known for a long time. Yet despite the issue becoming more pressing and innovations making insulation more widely available, installations have fallen off in recent years. This is largely due to a lack of government funding or initiatives. Around 63% of household energy consumption is used for heating and as few as 9% of qualifying homes have modern solid wall insulation. Hence, it is clear that more focus and investment can make a big difference in this area. A well-insulated house consumes around 15% less energy overall than one without insulation.
Installing smart lights that are only on when they’re needed slashed lighting energy use by 87% for King’s College London’s halls of residence. These few buildings alone save 34.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually as part of an institution-wide carbon cutting drive. It acts as a clear example of just how much of a change smart home technology can make to emissions and the environment.
Energy-efficient Smart home systems can manage the consumption of many household devices. Smart devices chosen over their older equivalents often use a fraction of their energy, managing power and turning off when not in use. Smart plug sockets and similar solutions can smarten up the devices you can't or won't replace, turning them off automatically when not in use too. This could save close to 10% of household energy, which is otherwise used by devices on standby.
These savings – 87% of light energy, 10% of household consumption on standby, 12% on heating – are all impressive on their own. However, they’re only the first chapter in a much bigger story.
The new generation of smart devices go beyond cutting energy consumption by being off when not in use. They can reduce it far further by using a fraction of their full energy when partially in use. Imagine a fridge that only cools the parts where it knows there is food. Think of a laptop that lets you type a document in low power mode before waking up fully to run something more demanding. These aren’t distant dreams. I’m writing this blog on just such a laptop and we’re already specifying a wide range of super-smart appliances for our customers.
Synergy with other innovations takes the story further. Next-generation smart homes can save supermarket trips by reordering shopping and having it delivered by efficient drones. Meanwhile, smart boilers and batteries in future homes will have a big role in solving the storage problems of renewable energy. Tomorrow’s homes could loan each other energy when their batteries are too full for efficient generation. They could even plan the amount sold to the grid for maximum effect. Communities in California are looking to combine all these innovations to become energy-independent smart towns. These will save CO2 while cutting the fire risk of long-range energy transfer via pylons in hot weather.
Turning a home into a smart home can be a major step toward environmental sustainability. A well-managed smart home refurbishment can reduce your energy consumption vastly, paying off in carbon terms in only a few years. As well as owners, home designers and creators can make their practices more sustainable and valuable by incorporating smart tech.