Harvey Norman launched their Connected Home Show house at the 2015 Ideal Home Show in the RDS last night. Harvey Norman’s CEO Blaine Callard delivered a keynote address on the “Home of the Future and the Internet of Things.”

Blaine HN

Blaine Collard delivering his keynote address.

Blaine started by explaining what the home of the future used to be.

“In the 1990s home automation was all the rage. Expensive specialist technicians would install kilometers of cable through your prestige home, in order to pipe phone, Ethernet and music to every room. To allow clunky remote controls to turn on and off certain lights, adjust heating-and-volume, and open doors and blinds. It was glamorous, superficial, the cost was exorbitant, and sadly the enhancement to lifestyle was minimal.”

He then stated “That was home automation in the 90s, expensive and gimmicky. For many it’s what they think of when you say Smart Home, or connected home.”

We all know what he is talking about, especially those of us who were the early adopters of home cinema systems who had their cables all around our living rooms.

Blaine then spoke about what we can expect today.

“Fast forward to today and the possibilities have opened up significantly. Technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have removed the need for cables plugs and sockets. Our mobile phones and tablets have replaced those old remote controls, our music, photos, and data is in the cloud, and increasingly more and more devices AND domestic appliances are connected to the internet OR to each other. Welcome to todays and tomorrows CONNECTED HOME.”

Harvey Norman aim to be at the forefront of all this with Blaine confidently stating.

“At Harvey Norman, our brand is uniquely positioned to be at the heart of every great home. HOME is what we are about. Not only are we one of Ireland’s largest furniture retailers, but we are also technology and appliance specialists. Only at Harvey Norman can you purchase a stylish Sofa, a stunning dining table, a fabulous bedroom suite, a huge TV, a lightning fast laptop, and the latest in technology and home appliances – all under one roof. Your home is our specialty.”

So what can we expect in a modern smart home?  Blaine stated.

“At the heart of a modern smart home we find a great laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Combined with a powerful Wi-Fi router, these form the nerve centre AND create the connectivity-throughout-the-home, which allows all other devices to operate and communicate.”

“From there, the modern connected home is all about security, comfort, wellbeing, efficiency, convenience, and of course connectivity. Our homes are much more than buildings, they are the centers of our worlds, our safe places, where we can rest, grow, relax, be together, or just curl up and be warm. Our homes define us, reflect our personalities, and hopefully – if well designed – help us to live the way we want. Technology allows our home to be much more than four walls and a roof.”

According to Baine, a connected home is about two things safety and comfort.

“A connected home can keep us safe, with everything from smart connected alarms, intelligent smoke detection, and smart security cameras that allow us keep an eye on our homes from our mobile phones. A connected home is also about comfort with intelligent heating and cooling, take for instance the fascinating Nest thermostat that not only regulates your home’s temperature, but also learns how you live, which rooms you use and when, what your patterns are of coming and going, and when you want to be warmer or cooler, all whilst speaking to other Nest devices in your home. A connected house learns about you.”

In a modern smart home new technology such as smart cooking and kitchen appliances as well as smart lighting can keep you healthy and relaxed. When it comes to playing music in your home Harvey Norman also has that covered and Blaine explained

“At Harvey Norman we’re redefining sound, and so in a truly connected home, you can have your music your way. Breathtaking sound quality, streamed wirelessly throughout your home from your computer, your mobile phone, the cloud, your home entertainment system or the internet.  The speakers all connect wirelessly to create an instant network of sound throughout the rooms of your house. Once you experience quality wireless sound and multi-room audio, you’ll never go back to anything else.”

When it comes to being eco-friendly and saving money, Harvey Norman has that covered too, with Blaine explaining how.

“In a world of scarce resources, of looming water charges, and of constant energy bills, smart and connected appliances can use just a fraction of the power and water of the existing appliances in most Irish homes today. A small investment can mean big savings. Many of these smart appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, Televisions and smart heating will save so much in power or water, they can completely pay for themselves within a year or two – and provide savings well into the future. A connected home is an efficient home, and a much cheaper home to run.”

A smart home is also designed to make your life easier and Blaine said a connected home helps.

“A connected home is a convenient home, whether that’s a garage door that opens as you pull into the driveway, a lamp, light, or appliance you can turn on and off remotely using your phone or your voice, or a song, a game, or a video that you can play instantly and anywhere. Print photos wirelessly from your Tablet or phone. In the kitchen Pyrolytic ovens can self-clean or turn themselves off, and fridges can adjust depending on what’s inside them and how often you open them. A robot vacuum cleaner can even keep your floors clean – all while you are at work. Smart appliances that can give us more time, and more options for how we want to live.”

A connected home also allows you to connect to the outside world and Blaine explained how this can be done.

“It goes without saying that a connected home also needs to help keep YOU connected to YOUR world and to those you love. Skype or use Facebook from the big screen smart TV in your lounge room, or from a range of devices around the home. Get video, news, gaming, content and music on demand streamed direct to your TV through simple and easy to use smart interfaces. Powerful new technologies are concealed in gorgeous slim new smart TVs that look just as good on or off. For the first time ever in Ireland, you can see in our showhome the incredible Sony 4k Android TV, so a special mention to Sony for working with us to launch that technology here at the show.  Convenience and connectivity is truly to be found everywhere in a connected home.”

As a smart home is based around the internet of things, Blaine left us with a fact worth pondering.

“Research released by Gartner predicts that by 2022 the average Irish home will have up to 500 internet connected devices in it. This will be truly the internet of things, but it starts here with already hundreds of internet connected products available to buy for your home right now.”

On Monday you read about some of the products by  Belkin, Nest, HP, Sonos, Sony, Neff, Samsung, Kitchen Aid which take pride of place in the Harvey Norman connected home.

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