You know the saying, “Home is where the heart is?” Well now, home is also where the tech is. The market for “smart” home devices that can connect to the Internet is growing at a rapid pace. These gadgets and appliances that connect to the Internet and can be controlled from a central computer are quickly becoming the new normal.
Homeowners are adding climate control, lights, appliances, locks and various cameras and monitors to their home automation systems and easily controlling them from anywhere in the house – or even remotely – with just the push of a button. According to Coldwell Banker, 64 percent of its real estate agents surveyed said that buyers today are more interested in houses with smart home features and technology than they were just two years ago.
As smart home technology becomes more affordable and accessible, it’s only a matter of time before the options on the market become overwhelming. To help you get a better a handle on new uses and offerings, we’ve outlined some of the top trends happening in smart home technology:
- The smart home is a truly connected home. New players are entering the smart home market every day, and ensuring that all the pieces fit together can be a tough job. As more and more products – which can now include everything from a French-door refrigerator with smart cooling to an alarm clock that adjusts to your sleeping patterns – begin to talk to one another, keeping everything under control is critical. Technology like the Wink Connected Home Hub and the SmartThings Hub monitor and control all of your smart home devices from a single location. What’s the benefit of all of this connectivity? In a single word, convenience.
- Smartly efficient. Many smart home devices and technologies are designed with energy conservation in mind. For example, smart thermostats learn your heating and cooling patterns and adjust the temperature on schedules, like going into “away” mode when you’re at the office during the day, which can further reduce your heating and cooling bills. There are also smart lights and lighting systems that tout the energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology that lasts longer than incandescent bulbs and can be synced to a computer or smartphone for one-touch mood lighting.
- Smartphones as remote controls. Speaking of smartphones, very little of a phone’s functionality pertains to making calls these days. Now that many home devices can be connected to the Internet – lights, cameras, garage door openers, kitchen appliances and more – most can also be controlled using an app that’s downloaded to your mobile device. According to the Coldwell Banker survey mentioned earlier, 62 percent of homebuyers want to control their home from their smartphone. This convenience can be a huge benefit when you’re away from home unexpectedly or need to give someone else access to your house.
- Smartly secure. Door locks have evolved from the age-old tumblers and dead bolts to systems that don’t need a key. But today’s smart locks have even moved beyond punch codes and key fobs to locks that can be opened with a little help from your computer or smartphone. Aside from remote entry, smart locks produce a record of every time your home’s door has been opened or locked and whose smartphone or digital key was used for it. Beyond simple door locks are smart security systems, which empower homeowners to turn lights on or off, lock doors, turn off gas or water lines in response to potential problems or access live streaming video feeds to monitor and record activities around the house.
The emerging smart home technology is helping our homes become more efficient and more secure, as well as saving us a few steps in the process. However, all this new technology adds a level of complexity for common everyday devices. Making sure everything – from your TV to your gaming console or even that Crock-Pot – is properly connected to the Internet can be a challenge.
Should your smart home ever prove smarter than you, give Online Owls a hoot. We’re happy to come out on your schedule to set up any device or simply check out your security settings across the board. We’re also here to help you select the proper system and answer any questions you might have along the way.