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ISE 2020: Aesthetics and efficiency, the European value of smart homes and buildings

ISE 2020: Aesthetics and efficiency, the European value of smart homes and buildings
Through ISE 2020, European smart home and building system integrators have shown a regional value towards the rising technology – it needs to look good and helps reduce the environmental footprints.

Annual show, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) was held in Amsterdam this year. Along with entertainment and AV systems, smart home and smart building manufacturers have found their place to present the latest breakthroughs, as well as demonstrated the European value towards the new technologies – quality and aesthetics. 

Not a plastic-wrapped smart home

Smart home technology is an investment. There are indeed more affordable DIY smart home devices being launched in the market. However, to own a fully functioned smart home costs a fortune, especially a professional smart home system. If a homeowner is willing to invest in the technology, they might also be interested in technology devices that look good. 

This aesthetic mindset has been fully presented at ISE 2020. Long-founded German company Jung, for example, has shown smart buttons made in various colors and materials - from blue-grey, red, black, silver, mocha and champagne to plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, brass and gold. 
Jung Smart Home Buttons

Homeowners can ask for a simple smart button, which includes four-in-one operational control for adjusting lighting and temperature, or a regular rotary dimmer for a broader lighting option. All designs are flush-mounted, fitting into the home naturally. The company, of course, provides a touch display as a control panel for smart homes, with its consistent aesthetic design. 

Worldwide-known luxury brand Lutron has also expanded its high-end offering at ISE 2020. The company has showcased its Palladiom keypad and thermostat with a new Antique Brass bespoke finishing, and blinds with new options like sheer fabrics, wood slats for venetian blinds and more color options. 

Another firm from Belgium, Basalte, focuses solely on the high-end of the smart home market. Its smart home control panel, switches and thermostats are all shipped with high-quality finishes handmade and engineered in Belgium. 

In Europe, smart home technology isn’t just a sign of tech-savviness, but also a taste of living. 

Technologies that aim to save energy

What’s the purpose of having a smart home or smart building? The answer in the U.S. might be “fun” or “convenience.” In Europe, meanwhile, a big part of it is about energy efficiency. 

American homes are in general large, which means there’s lots of space for owners to install many TVs, lighting and other devices. Then, their need towards a smart control system emerges, suggested Kordon Vaughn, Senior Director Controller Products at Control4. Most people in Europe, on the other side, live in a smaller place and therefore have less need for devices. “Often people (in Europe) would want smart technologies to save money,” said Vaughn.

Because of that, smart home and smart building solutions in the European market often include energy monitoring features. For instance, the system shows which device has consumed the most power or which faucet has provided the most water. The data could be reported in real time or as a monthly analysis, so that homeowners or building managers could be aware of the consumption and conduct further actions to reduce the consumption. 

Public awareness of climate change is relatively high in Europe compared to worldwide. Reducing environmental footprints have become a big concern of Europeans. 

The cost of energy will also rise in the next 10 years, said Ing. Kamil Spurny, Development Manager at TECO. In order to be prepared in the future, energy management has become a great interest in the European market. 

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