Once the preserve of the aspiring Bond or gadget geek, but now literally in our pockets, smart home technology saves time and money, says Arabella Youens
DO you know what a BMS is? If not, read on. In exceptionally high-tech new-build houses, or houses that have undergone a substantial refit, the chances are high that what was once commonly thought of as ‘the boiler room’ will have been converted into an ‘energy centre’, at the heart of which will be the Building Management System (BMS).
Looking not unlike something that Q might have devised, this is where the house’s lighting, sound and audiovisual equipment as well as burglar, smoke and any other sort of alarms are managed. And, unless the owners have a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, they will need different specialists to reprogramme the systems in the event that they go wrong—which they do.
Smart home technology is a sort of halfway house, offering some of the clever remote-control aspects of the more complicated systems with lower costs and no rewiring. Now that the second generation of kit has been launched on the market, ironing out some of the teething problems of the first wave, country-house owners— particularly multiple-home owners— are reaping the benefits.
‘Heating and security systems that can be controlled from your phone are increasingly popular,’ says Luke Morgan of Strutt & Parker (020–7318 5095), who adds that he’s just as likely now to come across them in renovated old rectories as in new houses. ‘For example, you could check your CCTV cameras on your mobile and then turn the heating on as you drive home from holiday.’ House of the future: kitchen appliances such as fridges and coffeemakers can now be controlled from your phone or tablet