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In 1995, Bill Gates penned The Road Ahead, which, along with insights into the PC revolution, included a description of the “invisible” technologies built into his home. They were meant to “meet and even anticipate [one’s] needsall as unobtrusively as possible.”

Cue the smart home revolution.

Gate’s home, with speakers hidden behind wallpaper, pressure-sensitive flooring, and invisible electrical outlets, seemed otherworldly in 1995. Fast forward to 2018, and most of Bill Gates’ home technologies are actually achievable and fairly inexpensive.

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Aerial photo of the 66,000 sq. ft Gates estate in Medina, Washington. Photo from wikipedia.org.

More on the Smart Home of the Second Richest Man in the World

When you walked into the Gates home in 1996, you would have been given a tiny electronic pin to clip onto your clothing. The pin would record your lighting, climate, music, and even art preferences. As the home’s high-tech sensor system detected you walking through its sprawling rooms, lights would dim, temperatures would adjust, and art displayed on mounted screens would change to match your unique preferences.

Gates has since kept mum about his estate, but even people writing on the story in 2014 still seemed impressed by the futuristic home. For those of us who are in the smart home industry in 2018, we’re not that amazed. Why? Because we can install this technology in your home, today!

Audio-Visual Innovations

Rotating your favorite art on flat screens is an easy place to start — and it won’t cost you the $230,000 Gates spent on his system. There are now many more options to choose from, from smart TVs to millimeter-thin displays. Make your art really do the talking with BBD’s multi-room audio systems, which include flush in-ceiling and in-wall speakers, that are both designer-friendly and accessible from your smartphone.

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Flush in-ceiling speakers provide elegance to any room. Photo from crutchfield.com.

In order to reduce heat loss and give the home next-level privacy, the Gates estate has been designed to be “earth-sheltered,” meaning that it’s actually built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently. 

If you can’t build your home into a forested cliff, fear not, as motorized smart window treatments can achieve many of the same objectives. In addition to having all of your window treatments being remote or touchscreen controlled, they can also be scheduled to raise or lower at specific times. Doing so will reduce your air conditioning costs and ensure your household’s privacy.

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Image from our product gallery.

At the Touch of a Button

One technological innovation that was just as useful in 1995, as it is in 2018, is the touchscreen. As written in an earlier blog post, The future of Smart Homes: Do Touchscreens Speak Louder than Words?, when compared to voice-controlled devices like Amazon’s Alexa, touchscreens are still more effective for most smart home automations. To reiterate, “when adjusting dimming levels for lights or sound levels for music, sticking with the slide of a finger is still much faster than trying to issue successive commands to your device until you find the right level.”

Wires Begone!

On a final note, praise be to the end of wiring. Instead of having to hide thousands of fiber-optic cables behind walls and floors, smart home innovations such as those we’ve discussed can now be incorporated into your home’s existing structure using wireless connections.

Thanks, Bill, for inspiring us to adopt a more cost-efficient and health-conscious lifestyle.

To incorporate the newest smart home innovations into your home, stop by our showroom in downtown St. Petersburg today!

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