Your house is getting smarter - and your phone is the brain

The technology of today and the promise of tomorrow

So what about the FUTURE?

More smart kit and new appliances are coming off the production line all the time, and places like South Korea are way ahead of the UK in the connected homes stakes. Samsung has been in the smart fridge game for a number of years, producing touchscreen-enabled units that allowing you to tell them what food you're putting in it.

That food index is then synced to your smartphone, so when you go shopping you'll be able to see at a glance exactly what you already have. The fridge can also send an alert to your phone or to your television if the door has been left open.

We imagine that's colloquially called the 'sigh-inducing' app.

Then there's Dyson's new 360 Eye vacuum cleaner. Automated vacuum cleaners are nothing new, but this one lets you remotely take control of it with your smartphone. You can activate it from your phone and even view maps of which rooms the cleaner has been through.

Of course there's a flipside with all this extra tech: you might also be concerned about the energy use of all these connected devices.

Dyson Eye

But actually by having devices that intelligently know when to turn on and off it's likely to actually save you energy, which is one of the points touted with by Honeywell for its evohome.

Plus there are smart devices for homes that specifically deal with keeping track or your electricity use, such as the British Gas Smart Meter, so you can always keep on top things.

Through the power of apps, smartphones can also potentially add extra functionality to connected devices. You can see the beginnings of this with Philips Hue light bulbs. Out of the box these let you turn your lights on or off and change the colour of your lights with your phone or tablet.

However, Philips has also opened the Hue API up to developers, which has led to apps which expand their functionality. For example there's now a 'Hue Disco' app, which lets you program the lights to pulse in time to music, while another will make the lights blink whenever you're tagged in a Facebook photo, which, if you're sufficiently popular, is also a guaranteed way to get a headache.

Philips Hue
Philips Hue: a great but pricy lighting solution

If other smart household items, such as fridges, ovens and televisions open their APIs up to developers then a lot could be achieved. Gaps in functionality could be filled and custom apps could give you even more control of your house from your smartphone.

Televisions, for example, could be given access to more content sources or made to support more file types, while apps could keep track of use-by dates for food in your smart fridge.

Looking further ahead, devices are likely to start communicating with one another as well as with your phone, as that, after all, is what the internet of things is all about.

Samsung's smart fridge does that already to a small extent by being able to communicate with your television, but the real future will come when things become even more automated, minimising the need to control devices at all, giving you a daily roundup of all the bits you need to know.

That could mean a toaster that communicates with your kettle to ensure that your tea and toast are both ready at the same time. Or speakers that can communicate with your television and will know to turn music off in that room when you start watching something. Not to mention the curtains that will then automatically close to create a cinematic experience.

There's plenty of potential, which is why both Apple (with HomeKit) and Google (with Brillo) have launched initiatives to help control the internet of things living inside your home.

That's the real future, a home where all the devices are connected to one another, not just to the internet or to your phone; we imagine most would still like to have a smartphone or similar device at the centre for all the things to kick it all off with a flick of the finger.

Your smartphone will give you remote access to all of these things, letting you fine-tune their behaviour and take control when needed, be it to change the channel on your television or take control of your robot vacuum cleaner.