Create a new smart home, rescue home automation systems or get support to ensure smart home systems deliver the best experience.
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Create a new smart home, rescue home automation systems or get support to ensure smart home systems deliver the best experience.
+44 (0) 20 7193

Smart home technologies are becoming ever more popular and widespread in the eyes of consumers, but what is it that attracts people to invest in these technologies?


It’s not the shiny boxes and sparkly lights.

Smart tech media was awash this summer with stories of a Star Wars superfan selling a $15 million mansion including a Millennium Falcon home cinema. The flickering buttons and burnished metal conjure up a sci-fi fan’s idealised vision of the future, or possibly of a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

Ask most people over the age of 18 whether this is what they dream of when they look to futuristic smart tech though, and you’ll likely get a stony-faced negative in reply.

Generally, people want the exact opposite for their smart homes. Tech needs to be hidden and seamless with panels of controls kept small and simple and rooms kept looking as they did pre-smartening. It turns out that, far from all the bleeps and flashes of sci-fi futurism, people want their homes to function better without much visible tech. We’ve even hidden televisions behind mirrors to retain a certain je ne sais quoi. Simplicity, it turns out, is the ultimate sophistication.


Function over form

Unless you’re selling to a teenager or a rich sci-fi fan, it’s best to focus on what the tech does and how it affects their home life, rather than how it looks. This will come as second nature to architects and interior designers used to discussing how their creations will work as part of a client’s home life.

Buyers fall in love with smart homes because of the experience the various functions come together to create. Smart lighting isn’t just about automatic colour changes and dimming on command. It’s the key to creating the perfect mood for a family night, dinner party or film marathon. Even the Millennium Falcon cinema is really about the experience. Find out more about the importance of experience in our blog on the subject.


The 5 big smart home selling points

smart home selling pointsWhile everyone automates for slightly different reasons, there are five big reasons most consumers buy a smart home.

1. Ease of use

Smart homes can make your life easy. They can automate difficult tasks, time things you might forget and intelligently learn your lifestyle to smooth out the rough parts. This is a big plus-point for stressed-out professionals and busy families, and it could be a big motivator for older people with limited mobility in the future.

2. Empowerment

You can do things you weren’t able to before. For some, this might mean turning on Return of the Jedi in your Star Wars cinema, answering the door from a different country or perfecting the maintenance of a big garden. For other older people though, it may mean living independently for longer, which is a huge boon.

3. Security

For smart home tech, security has turned from a weakness to a strength in recent years. Smart CCTV, burglar alarms, doorbells and access control systems are quickly becoming must-haves for the security conscious. For many consumers, these systems are an entry point into the wider world of smart automation.

4. Energy saving

Another area where smart tech has come to the fore. As energy prices have spiralled and global climate change has become a serious issue, the ability of smart tech to offer substantial energy savings has become a big pull.

5. Experience

There’s that word again. As mentioned above, people want exciting new experiences and the key to selling smart home tech is to let people experience it in action. Not always an easy task, but an effective one.


For businesses and salespeople, it’s worth hitting on one or more of the above points during the sale, depending on the buyer. Busy professionals and the elderly tend to value ease of use and empowerment, while savvy young families appreciate energy savings and security. It’s also worth figuring out how you can best let prospective customers truly experience the smart home, too.


It was a rich person’s game, but now everyone is playing

Smart homes used to be exclusive investments for the rich. However, a recent survey by Statista found that the proportion of smart home tech users on low income was almost as large as the high-income segment:

(source: )

There is still a way to go before smart homes are truly diversified across the market; there are many times more mid-income consumers than high-income ones, but things are changing.

Mid- and low-income consumers are more likely to buy off-the-shelf, DIY and piecemeal smart home solutions, rather than having one designed. These offerings have in the past been notoriously buggy and difficult to synchronise and keep working, but all this is set to change…


The Matter protocol, and why it will kick-start mid-market smart home sales

Earlier in 2022, a new industry protocol called Matter was introduced to standardise smart home device communication and interaction. In short, all differently branded devices will ‘speak the same language’ and will be able to communicate easily at a basic level. This means no more updates stopping your lights from talking to your control hub and much less awkward tinkering to make systems with differently branded devices work together. It was agreed on by 200 of the industry’s biggest players, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung, and it is forecasted to kick off a revolution in mainstream smart home technology.



In the past, complete smart homes have been the exclusive domains of hobbyists and the wealthy. If you didn’t have the money to get a bespoke smart home set up and managed for you, or the tinkering time to handle the buggy value-priced tech yourself, you didn’t get a smart home. Now, home automation is set to become an easy-access option for the masses with the introduction of Matter, along with widespread 5G and optical internet to the premises.

That means huge increases in demand and opportunities for new supply in the middle market over the coming years. It also indicates that large-scale new home developments with smart capabilities may become a common sight in years to come.


In conclusion – Learn smart home selling and find yourself in demand

Those who can sell the concept will find themselves in great demand as smart homes become more and more mainstream. To find out more about selling smart homes as a developer, designer or electrical specialist, book a meeting with Andy Baker of Baker Stone today with no obligation.

The home cinema is the big Hollywood celebrity of the smart home specification game. Everybody knows them, most people like them, and you don’t have to put them in the middle of a complicated plot to get people interested.



Before we start – Welcome to Smart Spotlight

Smart spotlight is a regular feature where we’ll be taking a closer look at one of the aspects of a smart home for homeowners and home designers alike. We’ll be asking what it is, why you might want one, and what you might want to think about when buying or specifying one. It’s more of an introduction to ideas than a technical deep dive. Either way, we hope you like it.



The rise of the smart home cinema

For as long as I can remember, TVs have stood firm at the top of the home appliance popularity stakes. Most of us spend longer staring at them than our beloved ovens, fridges, and washing machines put together and demand for them transcends class and earnings. Millionaires and minimum wagers alike are wont to invest significant portions of their income in getting the right one.

It’s probably no surprise then that their descendants – smart TVs and home cinema systems - have led the way for smart tech, selling hundreds of millions when many smart home appliances are still pushing to manage a hundred thousand.

Like televisions before them, smart TVs have diversified to satisfy every niche and income bracket. While you can grab a cheap 'smart' TV for £200, the smart home cinema and its elusive sibling, the media room have risen to occupy the upper echelons of the AI-TV market.



Meet the home cinema

Premium offerings offer far more than a massive screen on one wall: Smart media management, lighting, heating, air conditioning and audio compliment mind-blowing interior design and some serious screen-seating comfort to create a unique experience in front of the screen. Meanwhile, ultra-HD TV, multimedia services, gaming and smart home control give a whole host of spectacular options on the screen.

As you may have guessed, home cinemas and media rooms occupy significant spaces within the home. When designing a home cinema as a professional, be prepared to match the impressive piece of tech that occupies that one wall with something equally breath-taking between the other three. For many homeowners, the home cinema is an opportunity to express their wild and hedonistic side within the home. Think snazzy lighting, super cool décor and ridiculously comfortable seats that are often prone to vibrate and change temperatures on command. Some go for smooth and sophisticated, instead of hedonistically overloaded, while others opt for the traditional dark walls and subdued lights. When the film comes on, it’s all in the dark anyway, right?



So what’s a media room?

We know what you’re thinking. A media room sounds like somewhere the PM might tell the nation about hands, face and space, or that place in every spy film with an unfeasibly large number of TV screens. In fact, there’s very little to distinguish it from the home cinema.

Despite the formal-sounding name, media rooms are often cosier and more relaxed than home cinemas in layout. More like living rooms where families can be together than theatres where audiences sit in rows. While the cinema / TV is still a major focus, media rooms often incorporate other home comforts and sources of entertainment, from VR goggles to mini dance floors to pool and football tables.

All it literally means is a space where people can gather to enjoy high-quality media.



Why have a home cinema – The benefits

This could be one of the shortest benefits sections in this series. While it takes a while to explain why one might want smart air conditioning, the benefits of a home cinema are obvious. I can sense the film buffs and binge-watchers getting excited as I write. For the sake of appearance though, I’ll lay out the main benefit:

The home cinema is your own private cinema...

...Not to mention games room, and super-hedonistic TV space. You can decorate it how you want, enjoy all the comfort you want and watch whatever you want, all at a cinematic scale with first-rate audio and visual tech.



Who is it for?

As already mentioned, film buffs and Netflix bingers will love this option, as well as gamers who want to level up their playing time. But the home cinema and media room is also a great option for those who like to share family time enjoying something a bit different. Those who like to entertain can also get a lot out of a home cinema, inviting friends round for a blockbuster night or simply a supersized viewing of the latest Goggle Box episode.

Smart cinemas and media rooms can also be useful for businesses, providing for unforgettable pitches and presentations that competitors can’t match. They can be especially useful for highly visual high-ticket industries such as design, advertising or holiday sales.



Choosing and specifying a home cinema – Need-to-knows

The main point to make about home cinemas is that, unlike many smart home options, they require a big space commitment. In most cases they will require their own room, although they can integrate well with games rooms and dance floors, which can benefit from a shared or linked sound system. These would generally be installed behind the cinema seats, which are often in rows or a horseshoe shape facing the screen.

Media rooms are generally more flexible and can range from fairly focused setups to living rooms with a little extra investment in audio-visual tech.

To a greater or lesser extent in both cases, allowances for sight lines and audio fidelity place strict limits on some design aspects of the room. Meanwhile, the desire for a little flare in this room can make for some exciting and demanding design briefs. Lighting design and light exclusion are also fundamental to a good home cinema.



Home cinemas and media rooms are highly desirable and very enjoyable. For home developers and designers, they’re easy to sell, but hard to specify. The benefits and the type of people who want them are both obvious. However, there are many occasions when layout or cost may require the owner to compromise on their idea. For new builds, layouts can be designed, but constraints are significant compared to other aspects of the smart home.

If you’re an owner and you really want a home cinema or a developer committed to providing one, we can support you to create an enjoyable highlight in almost all cases though. Find out more about our home cinema and audio visual offerings on our dedicated page.  When you’re in the room eating popcorn and enjoying your favourite movie on the huge screen, you’ll know that it was worth it!


Images co. Christian Collins and Light Tape UK


Find out if a home cinema or media room is right for you or your client

If all this talk of home cinema has given you a taste for movie magic in your home, book in a meeting to start planning yours 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.



The numbers at present (Summer 2022)

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.



Fortunately, the UK has enshrined an optimistic 78% emissions cut target by 2035 in law (compared to 1990 levels). Other countries are beginning to make equally positive commitments in this once ignored area. Most notably the US, earlier in August 2022.
Professor Diesendorf says we need to make unprecedented lifestyle changes to achieve these cuts. Governments and industry can shoulder some of the burden. However, many changes need to take place at home, and smart techn will be one of the major factors.



The 2 big changes needed in British homes

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:

1.      Insulation


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.


2.      Smart homes

On the subject of heating, smart thermostats and heating controls can cut a household’s energy requirement by 10-12% on average by reducing heating bills. This simple change could cut energy consumption by almost as much as modern insulation installation could. That said, we would always advise investing in both.
This simple, smart eco strategy is only the start of what can be done with domotics (smart home tech) though...



How do smart homes save energy?


87% lighting energy savings from smart occupancy lights

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.


Emissions savings from smart home power management

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.



The first step toward a smart, sustainable future

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.


“Entering low-power mode”

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.


Saving the world in synchronicity

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.



Smart sustainability; a revolution worth joining?

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.


Call us and join the revolution today