The future of smart home standards

The Future of Smart Home Standards.

The promise of smart home living has been heralded by established players and nimble startups alike for over 40 years, promising properties that instinctively respond to our needs, self-maintain, save on energy and keep homes more secure.

The introduction of Matter, a global standard developed by the Connectivity Standard Alliance in collaboration with Apple, Google, Amazon and other system and device suppliers, working alongside deep artificial intelligence systems, brings us closer to this reality than ever before.

Timber-Lantern House by mcmahon and nerlich. Photographer: Dave Kulesza


One of the largest hurdles for the smart home industry to overcome is genuine usefulness for homeowners, who don’t want to invest time or thousands of dollars in systems that they can’t guarantee will improve their quality of life.

Luke Coulter, Director of YourSmartLife, discovered the need for practical smart home guidance when working with architect Kate McMahon from design-led architecture studio mcmahon and nerlich, to design his own family home in Brunswick. Coulter wanted a sophisticated solution that fitted with his vision for a sustainable, flexible space, and in the process realised that many other homeowners are looking for similar mid-market integrations; a step up from ‘do it yourself’ solutions without spending a six-figure sum.

“Some of the myths we need to bust include smart homes needing very high end, fully wired solutions, and that you need to plan and integrate everything, all at once,” comments Coulter.

“At YourSmartLife, we specialise in affordable solutions that can be retrofitted, meaning a smart home can be added to over time as your needs change.”

Coulter’s home opens to the public in July as part of Open House Melbourne, giving visitors the opportunity to try out the technology in an effort to make modern smart homes more tangible.

“Stereotypes about older home owners not wanting or being able to use systems are one thing we need to disrupt. A large portion of our customers are in their 60’s or older, and are easily able to learn to navigate controls with interfaces like Apple Home.”

While being able to adjust your environment at the touch of a button has novelty appeal, wellness implications are largely under recognised but have the potential to impact our residential experiences.

Lochlan Sinclair, Director at architecturally-led developer Neometro feels this is where the real long-term benefits lie for professionals whose clients want an elevated standard of living.

“Around 80% of our health and wellbeing is influenced by our environment. Simple technologies that benefit residents’ environments to positively impact their wellbeing, such as circadian rhythm enhancing lighting, is what excites us.”

Longevity of systems depends on their adaptability over a building’s lifetime, especially in rental properties or multi-residential projects where residents have varying needs. Personalisable smart home systems let residents “choose their own adventure” through reprogramming and new integrations let developers confidently design for families, couples, single people and people of all abilities, without the expense or hassle.

Systems that fit with architects’ visions, supported by the training and guidance for how they can be used are a lynchpin in adoption, so that homeowners can fully realise the possibilities within their homes. George Garmanos, National Systems and Solution Manager at global electrical solutions supplier Legrand highlights that product innovation and professional education go hand in hand:

“Regular training from a range of professionals, as well as day-to-day client support, is leading to increased industry confidence. Products like Legrand’s award-winning Living Now Collection combine technology with sophisticated design, and any wiring utilises existing wiring systems in properties, making it easy for electricians and inexpensive for retrofitting, which is a win-win.”

Of course, technologies like artificial intelligence are shaping our interactions with connected objects and environments, for better or for worse. Luke Coulter reminds the industry to take a balanced outlook.

“There’s no denying AI will play an increased role in smart building management,” he comments. “Trends and behaviour data will allow systems to predict residents’ needs, alert to security or safety threats, keep the garden maintained, reduce energy usage, and even monitor the health of occupants, giving residents less to manage themselves and more time to enjoy their homes.”

Hear more from these voices at our panel Sustainable, Efficient, and Connected: The future of smart homes and buildings, 10:30am on Thursday, June 15, on the Futurebuild Stage.

This article was supplied by our content partner Trout Creative Thinking. Trout is hosting various panels across all three days of the event.