The Ideal Home Show make a smart technology property move | Property | Life & Style


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Visitors of the The Innovation Home at the Ideal Home Show can play with tech on a mobile app

It features devices such as security cameras, window and door sensors that alert you to break-ins, as well as plugs and lightbulbs that switch themselves on. 

But while this may look like the future to many of us, these innovations are all available at DIY and department stores for you fit yourself if you have wifi and a smartphone to download the necessary app. 

John Lewis even has dedicated smart home areas at its stores in Leeds, Edinburgh, Oxford, Southampton and London Oxford Street. 

Its new London White City store in the Westfield Centre is home to its first immersive smart home installation. 

While The Innovation Home at Olympia features Hive products, John Lewis’s White City store installation is the first of its kind in Europe to work exclusively with Apple. 

Anybody with an Apple phone will already have the Apple Home App that can control products such as Philips Hue light bulbs, Netatmo thermostats and security cameras or Apple TV 4K – although you will need an iCloud account. 

Admittedly these smart home gadgets appeal most to those in their 20s and 30s but according to a survey by property marketing agency Silk Road, most people aged 70-plus own a mobile phone and 76.8 per cent want a home with fast wifi or broadband. 

Well over half of them like the idea of technology such as enhanced alarms on doors and doorbells because of failing eyesight or hearing, plus wifi smoke detectors and other appliances. 

Smart homes are the future, as the developers of Sommar Place in Milton Keynes – the UK’s first affordable smart homes to feature Apple HomeKit accessories as standard – will tell you. 

The homes are being built by award-winning Swedish house-builder Trivselhus in partnership with Places For People, a property management and development company. 

As well as being Apple HomeKit-ready from the day owners move in, the contemporary Scandinavian-style homes will be energy efficient enough to withstand Swedish winters, let alone our own. 

They will have mineral wool insulation and air-tight closed panel timber-frame walls, so they will need 40 per cent less heating than traditional properties.


Technology is essential in easing people’s lives

Ken Forster


Trivselhus has been building low-energy homes for the UK for the past 20 years but this is the first smart home development. 

Another is planned for Cambridge – Marmalade Lane – within walking distance of the Science Park and Cambridge North railway station.

Prices there will start from £425,000 and will include two-bedroom apartments as well as three and four bedroom houses (marmaladelane.co.uk). 

Sommar Place, in the Broughton Gate area of Milton Keynes, will eventually have 56 homes and prices start from £250,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, up to £450,000 for a four-bedroom townhouse (01908 691606; sommarplace.com). 

“To date this level of connected technology integrated into the build of a new property has only been available in multi-million-pound, bespoke, smart homes,” says Ken Forster, managing director of Trivselhus, who points out Sommar Place is much more affordable. 

“Technology is essential in easing people’s lives so it is important that, moving forward, family homes are designed with smart home technology at their fore. 

“Privacy and security of homeowners is paramount, which is why it was especially important for us to offer the highly secure, end-to-end encrypted, Apple HomeKit accessories within Sommar Place.” 

Smart home accessories enabled by wifi through a mobile phone can be used to switch on heating while you’re on your way home or put house lights on before you open the front door. 

Apps, whether Apple, Hive or others, can also be used to improve home security and safety. 

They can switch on lights and TVs so it looks like someone is in, check on security cameras and remotely turn off sockets in case you leave the iron switched on. 

The Ideal Home Show exhibited its first House of the Future in 1928, a Cubist house full of electronic appliances and made from mass-produced synthetic material. 

Looks like we may finally be getting there.



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