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Queens­lan­ders are em­brac­ing “smart” tech­nol­ogy, with home­own­ers in­stalling ev­ery­thing from in­tu­itive light­ing to ful­lye­quipped me­dia rooms and state-of-the-art se­cu­rity – all con­trolled by dis­creet sys­tems.

For the Hig­gins fam­ily, it meant a com­plete re­design of their Nor­man Park home, with lo­cal in­te­rior de­signer Anna Spiro and Bris­bane firm, Elec­tronic Liv­ing, tak­ing care of the re­model.

“We had the whole place ren­o­vated over a 12-month pe­riod, but we re­ally do have the home of our dreams now,” ob­ste­tri­cian Dr Shane Hig­gins said.

Elec­tronic Liv­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Damian Ca­vanagh said the up­take in smart home tech­nol­ogy had reached “peak de­mand”, with con­sumers be­gin­ning to grasp the ben­e­fits of an au­to­mated home. One client spent well over $1 mil­lion fit­ting out their home, he said.

That fitout in­cluded smart wiring, an IT net­work, se­cu­rity and CCTV surveil­lance, light­ing and en­ergy con­trols, so­lar and bat­tery stor­age, a home cin­ema, a panic room, 14 video zones, 23 au­dio zones, an out­door cin­ema, au­to­mated blinds and win­dow cov­er­ings, cli­mate con­trol and air mon­i­tor­ing, and voice ac­ti­va­tion sys­tems.

“This mar­ket shift is largely due to the fact that the av­er­age Aus­tralian house­hold now has 14 con­nected de­vices, and by 2020 that num­ber is set to dou­ble,” Mr Ca­vanagh said. “In fact, there are more con­nected de­vices in the world than peo­ple. With all these con­nected de­vices, and rapid ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, our homes are on the brink of an epic dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tions.”

Among the ben­e­fits, Mr Ca­vanagh says, is the time saved on nor­mal day-to-day tasks, with ev­ery­thing from clos­ing the blinds and switch­ing off elec­tron­ics, to set­ting the alarm or air­con­di­tioner ca­pa­ble of be­ing au­to­mated.

He said the smart home tech­nol­ogy leant it­self to new builds, but there were plenty of clients – like the Hig­gins fam­ily – retrofitting ex­ist­ing homes.

And developers are also jump­ing on board. South City Square, by joint ven­tur­ers Pel­li­cano and Perri Projects, is just one Bris­bane devel­op­ment em­brac­ing smart tech­nol­ogy.

“The in­ter­est­ing thing is that the large ma­jor­ity of smart home adopters are not nec­es­sar­ily “tech savvy”, which in essence is why they are drawn to the ap­peal of the sim­plic­ity a smart home,” he said.

In the Hig­gins’ home, which in­cludes Ciara Hig­gins, the fam­ily’s “ex­cep­tional per­sonal man­ager”, and daugh­ters, Roisin, 27, an au­di­ol­o­gist, and Brid­get, 25, a lawyer, the tech­nol­ogy has changed many facets of their busy lives.

“The alarm, CCTV, locks, me­dia, shades, ir­ri­ga­tion – it’s all au­to­mated now,” Dr Hig­gins said. “If we want the house to do any­thing, we can just turn it on or off via an iPhone.

“If we are at the air­port, Ciara can even check the iron is off and switch off the iron socket from her phone.”

Mr Ca­vanagh said by far the most pop­u­lar re­quest was for en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems, with many of the ex­ist­ing stream­ing ser­vices and “wear­ables” ca­pa­ble of be­com­ing com­plete con­trol cen­tres.

Since hav­ing the tech­nol­ogy in­stalled, the Hig­gins’ fam­ily are still learn­ing about its abil­i­ties.

They plan to get voice ac­ti­va­tion sys­tems and Google Home fit­ted next year.

“I don’t think our girls are ever go­ing to move out,” Dr Hig­gins laughed.

“The big­gest prob­lem is we all have iPhones and there is cur­rently no real com­pli­ance over the TV.”

Shane and Ciara Hig­gins, with daugh­ter Brid­get, have ren­o­vated their Nor­man Park home, and in­cluded smart home tech­nol­ogy, with ev­ery­thing con­trolled by an iPad and a con­trol box. A home theatre in­stalled by Elec­tronic Liv­ing at an­other Bris­bane home...

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