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The growth in smart homes has been fuelled by the public’s insatiable appetite for audiovisual technology and the desire to adopt an energy-effi cient approach to living. Rob Shepherd explains the developments in smart home technology and the opportunities it offers electrical contractors


few years ago, if you mentioned smart homes to anybody the chances are that they would think you were talking about the home of the future, full of novelty gadgets and gizmos.


However, today’s smart homes are multi-faceted and play a combined role in enhancing lifestyles, reducing carbon emissions and saving energy. The smart home market is growing rapidly. Individual


client-spend on a typical custom installation project can be considerable, and six-fi gure contracts are not unusual. According to the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), the smart home sector is estimated to be worth around £500m annually in the UK. Dave Stefanowicz is ECA ITEC’s technical manager and


he has traced the progress of the smart home from its very beginnings. He comments: ‘The growth of audiovisual (AV) technology is, to my mind, the main driver for the smart


48 ECA Today Autumn 2010


home as we are all looking to maximise our leisure time. Also, the increasing numbers of people working from home and the desire to be energy-effi cient are major contributing factors.’


About the author


Rob Shepherd Rob Shepherd is a freelance journalist who has worked in the electrical contracting industry for more than 10 years, most recently as editor of Electrical Contracting News (ECN).


Total control A smart home allows the homeowner to take complete control of their living space and adapt it to their specifi c requirements. Manufacturers have developed technologies that are capable of turning the smart home into a reality, which is not as complex as one might imagine. Stefanowicz says: ‘The smart home sector is really


starting to gain momentum now. A few years ago it was somewhat fragmented but today there is a much more holistic approach to it, in which a variety of technologies are used.’ Homes are usually made smart for one of two reasons


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