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It's 4pm on a wintry weekday. You've had a stressful day, you're going to be an hour late from work and you have guests coming for dinner.

Then you remember you forgot to set the burglar alarm this morning.

But you've got one less thing to worry about because it's 2018 and all you have to do is pick up your mobile phone or go online, connect to a central control system that monitors everything in your home and turn your alarm on.

You can also check the view from your home security cameras to make sure no one has been in or around the property.

You might also want to let the dog out into the backyard, turn on the lights in any room - and turn off any appliances that might be soaking up valuable power.

The house of the future will have all these features and more. It will also use natural resources like wind and sunlight to heat, cool and light the home, with specialised sensors that do this automatically by sensing what room you are in.

Toilets that use less water and clean themselves, baths that heat the water more efficiently by detecting when someone is bathing, and washing machines that can detect how much sweat is on your dirty laundry and adjust the water levels accordingly are also on the list of products that will be available within 15 years.

Technology being developed by Panasonic has already realised this dream. Other global corporations are also researching and testing new products - all with an eco-friendly focus as natural resources become more precious and expensive.

While these products are dearer at present, mass production is expected to make them mainstream within 15 years.