BRE launches centre for smart homes

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The world’s leading building science centre, BRE, is launching a Centre for Smart Homes and Buildings (CSHB) to exist as a collaborative central hub for industry, academia and the government

The centre will work to facilitate and improve the use of smart products and services within the built environment. Working with a range of partners, including EDF, BT and Telefonica, the CSHB will be integral to supporting the growing smart homes technology sector.

Smart home appliances have dramatically changed the way we live and work, and their rapid evolution has driven advances in digital technology and data services. The range of these changes presents both opportunities and challenges in the fields of energy conservation, health and wellbeing, safety and security, and, connectivity and data privacy.

The smart homes market was valued at $27.5bn (~£19.5bn) in 2017, and is expected to almost double by 2022 to an estimated value of $53.45bn (~£37.8bn). Experts predict that there will be 25 billion IoT-enabled devices by 2020, with a majority being linked to home usage. In this way, a centre dedicated to the implementation of smart home technology will provide an essential resource to create clarity within the housebuilding industry.

With the increased incentive on housebuilding in the UK, many new build properties come with sensor-activated lighting, smartphone-controlled boilers and smart meters. Features which can help consumers save money and energy have demonstrated themselves as particularly popular, whilst appliances enabling a more convenient lifestyle have disrupted the luxury property market.

A key feature of BRE’s new Centre for Smart Homes & Buildings is the ‘living laboratory’ a smart home on BRE’s headquarters site that was created in 1997 to trial and test smart tech in a real setting.

Currently being put to the test in the ‘living lab’ are digital personal assistants with scientists looking at their ability to connect to all the homes appliances and tech to create high functioning integrated smart homes. Also being trialled is a number of assistive technologies that could help the older generation live independently for longer in their own homes.

Dr Martin Ganley, Director of Smart Homes and Buildings at BRE, said:

“Within the rapidly-growing home technology sector, the CSHB will play a vital role in educating the housebuilding sector, ensuring that tech meets the needs of the end user, and providing clarity on the performance of devices and systems. As the industry is such a dynamic one, the CSHB will also address and resolve emerging risks, helping the industry and its providers to operate as efficiently and sustainably as possible.”

Ash Pocock, Head of Industry, Regulation and External Affairs for Smart Metering at EDF Energy, added: “The BRE Centre for Smart Homes and Buildings provides an opportunity to help address issues which are common across industry, shaping policy, defining standards, supporting innovation and demonstrators. EDF Energy is proud to be a Gold Member of CSHB, as it seeks to address gaps and obstacles to progress, and the opportunity to deliver a more energy efficient home and building through connectivity and automation.”

For further information or to arrange an appointment to visit the CSHB, you can contact BRE on Tel: 0333 321 88 11 or visit www.bregroup.com.

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