The Smart Home – interconnected intelligence and co-ordinated solutions; electronic products find myriad applications within the home – benefitting people’s lives by improving comfort, convenience, safety and security.

In the kitchen, the long awaited and rather infamous web-connected fridge is now a reality, though its potential remains largely untapped until “smart” RFID tags become commonplace additions to food packaging. Once that happens, automatic monitoring of fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboard contents will help ensure that food items are used safely within date, food waste is reduced and replacement stock can be re-ordered automatically.

Upgraded electronic controls and enhanced user interfaces for “white goods” appliances are leading to simpler, quicker and more convenient operation. Better efficiency brings valuable cost savings and cuts in electricity and water consumption.

Intelligent heating systems can play a significant role in reducing overall energy wastage, cutting utility costs whilst also improving comfort levels. Fully zoned systems allow individual temperature profiles to be set in every room. These systems can work best where they operate autonomously, performing continuous adjustments as part of “learning” algorithms that adapt and control domestic environmental conditions to create an optimised balance between comfort and economy based on factors drawn from analysing family activity, behaviour and personal preferences.

It is in the field of home entertainment that electronics has shaped the most dramatic changes in domestic life. Digital technology has transformed the audio and video landscape, from the introduction of the compact disc in the 1980s, through the launch of digital terrestrial and satellite transmissions in the late 1990s, progressing to the multiple content delivery mechanisms available today. Widespread access to high bandwidth fixed-line and wireless broadband services is helping drive the broad adoption of alternative on-demand streaming for audio (music/radio) and video (film/TV) programmes. Continually evolving and improving compression technologies are squeezing ever more channels into a given bandwidth and are also helping deliver new, extended resolution film and TV content such as 4K or “Ultra HD”.

The Smart Home concept also features the prospect of interconnected intelligence – co-ordinated solutions that can help us run a safer, more secure and comfortable home. Smart gadgets, appliances and tools can reduce the drudgery associated with routine but essential tasks – making our homes altogether better places to live.

TDI can provide highly capable design resources in emerging Smart Home technologies including audio, video, embedded control systems, multi-sensor environmental monitoring, wireless and fixed line connectivity.