We all have our fantasy system, the sort of high-end fully integrated whistles-and-bells set-up that would require a double-rollover win to justify.
What if your numbers came up? Or what if you find yourself incredibly wealthy by dint of your own hard work, even? How would you try to get a feel for the sort of system your money could buy?
Well, you could make your way to the Smart App-artment just off London’s (currently sunny) Goodge Street. The brainchild (not to mention the hefty investment) of Cornflake Ltd, the Smart App-artment showcases the most covetable home automation technology on the market while doubling as an exclusive retail store.
The retail concept is new to the UK, and has its roots in the American trend towards ‘experiential retailing’ in the consumer electronics sector.
Basically, the rich and famous (or rich and unknown, for that matter) can ‘live’, for hours at a time, in the iPad-controlled apartment in order to fully experience the benefits of the integrated smart technology threaded through every room.
It’s a winningly ‘hands-on’ approach that allows customers to find out just how applicable new technology could be to their own lives and properties, with the opportunity to become terminally lazy (it’s one thing to power up your amp, Blu-ray player and projector, plus lower your concealed projection screen at the touch of a button, but it’s quite another to order and be served coffee with a vague gesture towards your iPad) a constant threat.
As well as extensive home entertainment possibilities (movies in the theatre room, games on a two-metre screen in the revolving games room, music in the audiophile den, pop-up TV in the lounge), customers can remotely control more-or-less every aspect of household service. Lighting, heating, security, blinds and cooking (no, really) can be controlled, at a swipe, from the reclined position.
More after the break
Some of the biggest and most aspirational names are represented. During my visit I spied Apple, Bowers & Wilkins, Bryston, Classe, Crestron, Loewe, Lutron, Rotel, Velodyne and Wilson Benesch to name but a few.
And for the conscious-stricken plutocrat, who may seek to offset the prodigious carbon footprint of all this lovely tech, the 4000sq.ft Smart App-artment features a lot of sustainable building features like bamboo flooring, recycled paper worktops and clay plaster. All of the integrated technology is designed to run at maximum energy-saving efficiency.
Obviously, Cornflake is targeting a very specific type of customer with the Smart App-artment, but there’s no doubt these customers are out there. As Robin Shephard, Conflake CEO, says: “Our clientele tend to have exceptionally busy lives, often spanning multiple homes, with hectic schedules across continents and time-zones. This technology helps attune their environment to their personal requirements, instantly.”