SH&BA News and Thoughts for Smart Homes

It is a year now since SH&BA reformed itself as SH&BA 2016 Limited but we are picking up members and running panel meetings that are adding to the understanding of the Smart Home and are adding new dimensions to the market.

As we indicate on the Home page a Smart Home is far more than the smart devices within it although these contribute greatly to the way people make their homes smart. SH&BA looks at Smart Homes from many perspectives and these include:


Reducing the energy the home uses and also the cost of that energy. This area of work includes projects which seek to look at groups of homes, buildings and businesses and to see how their aggregate energy can be bought as if by a “Large Energy User” and provided to all the end users at costs which are significantly less than when purchased directly from standard Energy Suppliers. (Of course it is in the energy suppliers interest to be involved in this since they have the opportunity to manage more effectively their trading and can grow their market). For this to be effective, these groupings have to be able to manage the overall load on the distribution system such that the system charges are minimised and energy costs through half hour purchase are constrained when energy is expensive. Our projects have looked at many potential groupings of end users and one of our potential solutions is to create community cooperatives that own, buy and provide energy for the group. There are many issues with this approach including the way energy is regulated. SH&BA will be discussing these issues in its Energy Panel.


Another area of this work is to lessen the amount of energy the Smart Home (and building) uses and SH&BA will be operating a Panel concerned with the built environment. This is an area where quite massive benefits can be realised. For instance, we know that Passiv Haus homes use virtually no energy and the technology to create homes such as this is well known. The question SH&BA and the UK and Europe (and the rest of the world) should be asking is “can the existing housing stock have its energy use lessened to around Passiv Haus levels?”. If we could do this today the amount the UK would spend on energy in the domestic sector would fall by around £30 Billion per annum (€600 Billion for Europe as a whole). Of course we cannot do this overnight, there are some 25 million homes in the UK and 20 times that in the EU, but we can look at the ways in which this can be achieved. SH&BA has looked at this in the past and came up with the 20 20 20 project which aimed to reduce the energy a house used to just 20% of its existing energy consumption, use off-site construction and robotic assisted systems for on site working 24/7 to do the work in (an average of) 20 days and do it for an average cost of £20k. The sums involved are massive, but for a 30 year period from 2020 the UK would be engaging in £18 Billions worth of construction, find work for potentially 500,000 people and increase GDP by upto £50 Billion per annum. The work would improve the homes of and employ people in every part of the UK. I will return to this in future blogs.


How people are cared for in our Smart Homes is also a major area of SH&BA’s work and we are involved with the CHIRON project which is looking at how we can introduce care assistance robots to reduce the pressure on carers, social services and the NHS. This is the subject of the next SH&BA Panel meeting. But we are also looking at what a home needs to be if it is to be a Caring Home and be a place where we are safe and well looked after as we age or if we have disabilities. Obviously Smart Systems and Smart Devices play their part and finding ways in which today’s elderly can use Smart devices and systems to help them live well is another area we will be looking at.

For instance, voice control is beginning to be used by many people at home now with Amazon Echo, Dot and Alexa but finding ways in which today’s elderly people can intuitively use them when the user may be in the onset of dementia is a major level of difficulty. However, such devices can begin to understand and converse with their subjects, they can deliver a level of conversation to deliver contact and intelligent presence and thus stimulation, motivation and reassurance for the isolated elderly are immense. Furthermore they can recover memories and feed these back to engage and stimulate people and potentially delay dementia. If a voice system can combat loneliness and provide contact with family and friends, one of the major problems of old age can be lessened.


There are two aspects of Security that SH&BA is interested in.

One is the physical security of the home and how safe the people living in it are. So a Smart Home must have windows and doors that are secured and have smart systems which ensure that doors and windows are locked and safe at night. Such systems often link to smart devices. SH&BA covers physical security under its Built Environment Panel.

The other is Cyber Security and this includes all the Smart systems in the Smart Home and the SH&BA Security panel addresses such questions as

  • Who is responsible for security in the Smart Home?
  • Who has the liability when failures of security cause loss of privacy, of money or injury.

The liabilities could be very expensive. Indeed for some companies, it could be existential.
Our belief is that every provider of any service or product for the Smart Home has some liability. If something goes wrong, they will need to be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • taken every step to ensure their product or service is secure and can prove it.
  • collaborated with other industry players to ensure their combined services are secure and can prove it.
  • followed every guideline put forward by standards, their insurers and government agencies and have followed “best practice” and can prove it.

This is not straightforward. Therefore the SH&BA Security panel going forward will consist of a series of meetings whose aim is to understand the issues and identify potential risks and their mitigation.


SH&BA has in the past been highly involved in helping members understand the underlying technology of the Smart Home. We will continue to do this as the technology landscape becomes evermore complex. Interoperability is still not something that is a given in the Smart Home and understanding all the systems and the interactions between them will help all the players in the Smart Home understand the issues. The SH&BA Technology Panel may well be held again this year.


Ultimately, if the Smart Home is to become something everyone has, then the supply chain between the people using such systems and the manufacturers and retailers needs to understand one another. SH&BA is feeding understanding across sectors through its Manufacturers and Retailers Panel which involves a wide range of service providers, manufacturers and retailers in attendance.

The consumer’s perspective though is not covered by SH&BA and we think that this is an issue. Perhaps this Blog will provide greater clarity for the people who buy and use Smart Systems, Smart Devices and Smart Appliances in their Smart Homes as the blog covers the above issues in more detail and provides feedback from the panel meetings.

Stephen Pattenden is a Board Member of SH&BA.







Next Health and Wellbeing Panel Meeting on 9th March 2017


The Health and Wellbeing Panel is concerned with the health and wellbeing of people in the buildings in which they live and work. Our premise is that wellbeing doesn’t begin at (say) 65 but is something that people need to consider for all of their adult lives.

Because SH&BA is concerned with the whole environment of the home and of smart communities, the focus is to understand the latest trends and development in the delivery of wellbeing, care and health and its interface with the “Smart” home and the opportunities offered by state of the art communications and sensing technology. It aims to reach beyond the existing rather closed Health Care / Social Care environment to ensure that health and social care professionals and ultimately the end users and their families and friends benefit from the holistic environment.

In previous meetings we have been working on a Consultation paper “Principles for Housing Wellness” – “How to continue living better” which were presented and made available at the “The Caring Home” – Conference last year.

With the increasing financial stress on social care and the issues that the NHS has with coping with the elderly, enabling people to care for themselves at home is becoming a national priority.


SH&BA in conjunction with Portsmouth University, has further developed the concept of the Caring Home to describe an improved home environment in which individuals are incentivised to self-care at home, and more care can be delivered by the statutory services at home. At Whitehill & Bordon where 3,500 homes are currently being built SH&BA is working with East Hants District Council and other stakeholders to include some of the ideas that are part of the Caring Home. In the CHIRON project SH&BA is working with the consortium partners to develop a prototype home-based robot care assistant.

SH&BA would like to invite you to attend this meeting to hear about:
•    Progress that has been made with the development and dissemination of the concept of the Caring Home
•    Work with the Whitehill and Bordon Healthy New Town programme
•    Involvement in the CHIRON project to investigate robots in the home for elder care
……………..and to contribute to the work going forward.
The meeting will be chaired by Richard Curry of SEHTA and Richard Foggie – KTN – UK
The agenda will follow these points:

•    Introductions
•    The Caring Home   Richard Curry
•    Whitehill and Bordon Healthy New Town programme
•    The CHIRON Project   Nigel Harris
•    Healthcare update   Richard Foggie
•    AOB

Looking forward, we will be investigating how voice activation systems such as Amazon’s Alexa and Echo will make it easier for people to manage their own care. CHIRON is already starting to utilise Alexa for controlling their future care robots and the possibilities of the conversational abilities of such systems to deliver contact and intelligent presence and thus stimulation, motivation and reassurance for the isolated elderly are immense.


Please register HERE


The SH&BA Health and Wellbeing Panel should be of value to all organisations working in and around Health and Social Care, those that deliver products and services to them and Consumer Groups with an interest in the services that Local Authorities and the NHS provide to people. We are aiming to raise awareness and understanding of new technology such as the Internet of Things and help Health and Care providers deliver better services to their communities. It is expected that the outputs from this Panel will be of value to all stakeholders involved in Social Care and Health either in providing or receiving them.

Registration is free to SH&BA members but £50.00 (Inclusive of VAT) for non Members. We encourgate you to become a member of SH&BA at