Utopia - May 2010
Remote control technology
Power play Ever since the TV remote control was first introduced, manufacturers have been looking for ways to incorporate automation systems into the home, and nowhere has the technology been used to better effect than in the kitchen and the bathroom
Remote control technology has it advantages for any modern family wanting a smarter way to keep pace with their busy schedules. Imagine being able to start running your bath and achieving the perfect temperature while you’re finishing loading the dishwasher, or sitting in your dining room and switching off the cooker extractor fan remotely.
THE FUTURE IS HERE The idea of a smart home is one that has been around for several decades, but it is only recently that technology has been able to meet customer expectations and create systems that really do add value. The most obvious benefits are for less able-bodied users, where tasks can be simplified. Advances in technology have the potential to transform everyday tasks into the push of a button. But it also has many other plus points. It can relieve the tedium of routine tasks, for example using remote control could reduce the time it takes to make a cup of tea, by handing the chore over to intelligent devices. There is also the cost-saving potential to explore. Being able to control the powering down of kitchen appliances remotely should improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce your electricity bills.
ZAPPER HAPPY So how has remote control technology been exploited in the kitchen and bathroom? Cooker ventilation hoods – whether island, wall, built-under visor or ceiling-integrated types – are often offered with remote controlled operation.
Ann Philips, sales and marketing manager at Westin says, “We have seen a real growth of interest in our range of built-in ceiling extractors over the past year, which all come equipped with a remote control, allowing the user to set the perfect fan speed and to adjust the lighting.” An ideal complement to kitchens that double up as open-plan living areas, these minimaliststyle ceiling units offer streamlined and uninterrupted design opportunities.
Revolutionising kitchen lighting, Sensio Lighting’s LED remote control and receiver allows you to alter the mood in your kitchen at the touch of a button. Using a simple dial on the remote, you can opt between on/off, a slow colour change or a rapid colour change. SieMatic’s S2 kitchen has a SmartBoard which controls all the technical components in the kitchen, and also features an ‘air mouse’ which acts as a remote control for the integrated touch screen.
FINGERTIP CONTROL But it’s not just appliances and lighting which benefit. TM Italia offers blocky, minimalist style kitchens, which at the wave of a remote control can open up to reveal sinks, taps, hobs, extractors, TVs and ovens, while Binova has contemporary monolithic style kitchens with all the storage shelves hidden discreetly inside, ready to rise out at the touch of a button.
In the bathroom, digital showering and remote controlled bathing technology is especially suited to those with reduced mobility. “Digital technology is exceptionally safe and user-friendly, so it’s perfect for bathrooms that need to be accessible and capable of adapting to changing needs,” explains Janet White, Aqualisa’s marketing communications manager. “The option of remote control is a real advantage for everyone involved. Features such as simple, one-touch, pushbutton controls make the user’s life a lot easier and give great peace of mind.”
SMOOTH OPERATOR With whirlpool baths and hydrotherapy pools, it’s far easier to enjoy the experience if you don’t have to keep getting up to change the settings, and the use of remote controlled appliances will also dramatically improve the aesthetics of your bathroom – finally you can do away with clunky dials and switches and instead embrace sleek, stylish living. “Not only does remote-control technology enable the bather to remain fully immersed in the water, controlling the world around at the mere touch of a button, but the aesthetics of the bathtub itself aren’t compromised by an unsightly array of gadgets and gizmos,” explains Lorna Wainwright, UK manager for Teuco. “Our remote controls all use menu-based logic – much like mobile phones – so they are user-friendly while allowing for multiple features such as air/water variation, heater, pulsator, underwater light, automatic disinfection, radio and rainbow chromatherapy. With your fingers pushing the buttons, you can put your feet up, enjoy all these functions, and really relax.” •••
Lighting, security and audio visual functions can be controlled via a central operating system that is integrated discreetly into the interior design of the home, as shown here in this project by Gibson Music. Multi-room systems offer music and radio in various rooms around the house, and lighting can be manipulated in a sophisticated way to alter the ambience. • Gibson Compact fully-integrated home automation, from £20,000
020 7384 2270 | www.gibson-music.com