What is a Smart Home and Why Should I Want One

Living in the digital era means that every day brings technological advances that are turning heads. 50 years ago, computers were the size of offices and had limited capabilities. Today, the smartphone in your pocket has more power than it took to send men to the moon. The exciting truth is that many things that were considered science fiction in the 1950’s and 60’s are now everyday reality. Smart home technology has evolved by stupendous leaps and bounds from the initial offerings of the X10 back in the 1970’s.

We live in an era where you can use technology to make your life easier, your home safer, and your lifestyle more comfortable than at any point in history. The best part is that home automation technology is evolving at a rapid pace and what is possible today will pave the way for even better things tomorrow. The question isn’t whether or not you want to incorporate home automation technology into your life; the question is how far do you want to go and how comfortable do you want to be in the future?

Automation Minimizes Your Environmental Impact

Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) including smart thermostats can reduce your family’s annual carbon emissions by as much as 13%. That is a significant reduction that adds up to big savings for your local environment and on your monthly utility bills. It is a fast paying investment and on average it takes about 3.5 months for a homeowner to recoup the cost of installing smart thermostats alone.

Of course, why stop with just the furnace and air conditioner? HEMS can do so much more. You can connect your sprinkler system and adjust it as the weather changes. This reduces your overall water usage and ensures your landscape stays lush and green without draining the green from your wallet.
You can also connect the shades and blinds within your home. When the sun shines through the windows, the system can close the blinds and reduce heat gain thus keeping your home cool and comfortable without the need to turn on the air conditioner.

It is also possible to control microcomputers within your hot water heater. You can turn the temperature down when you are heading out for vacation or on a business trip, and turn it up when guests come in for a weekend visit. All of this translates into using the precise amount of energy and natural resources you need without anything going to waste.

Personal Assistants to Handle Everyday Chores

Modern life moves fast and that means you have less and less time to take care of menial chores. Fortunately, technologies exist that can make it easier to get everything done so that you have plenty of time to focus on more important tasks.

Guests coming over and no time to vacuum the floor? Not a problem. You can tap a few buttons on your smartphone and put your IRobot controlled Roomba to work so that the floor is spotless when you get home.

Trouble remembering what you need to pick up from the store? Your Samsung Family Hub can send alerts and shopping lists to your phone. They can even tell you what ingredients you are missing for your favorite recipes and meals so that you never run out of the things you most commonly use.

Of course, no smart home would be complete without either an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device. Alexa is fantastic for playing music, catching up on the news, and making calls to friends and family in far off locales. It is also perfect for placing order for everything from groceries to Christmas presents. This makes it easy for you to get all your shopping done without having to ever get out of your pajamas.

Google Home is perfect for looking up information, checking the weather, and managing your schedule. Together, these personal assistants make it easy for you to stay on top of things and plan for your day ahead. And, if you are a heavy sleeper, both are fabulous time minders that will wake you up so that you are always ready to go on time.

Convenience and Comfort for Modern Living

Smart home technology makes every part of your day convenient and comfortable. From setting alarm clocks in the morning to issuing reminders from your calendar, it helps you keep track of the things you need to do. You can use timers to cook your favorite meals, use an app to manage your grocery list, or simply program your favorite music to play when you get home from work.

You can program your smart lights to turn on when you wake up in the morning, and turn off when you are ready to go to bed. You can dim your smart bulbs to create a romantic ambiance for date night or turn on an outside light to see what’s rustling in the bushes outside your window.

If you are like many people, your television remote has probably been lost in the couch cushions more times than you can remember. Next time you can’t find it, all you have to do to change the channel or adjust the volume is speak up and say so because your smart tv is always eager to hear what you have to ask.

Security that Ensures Safety

One of the biggest advantages of smart technology is home security. Smart door locks, smart smoke alarms, smart cameras, and smart lights can turn your home into a veritable fortress. If you want to protect your family and your property, these smart devices are stalwart sentinels that will stand guard over everything you hold dear in your life.
Smart doorbells such as Nest’s Hello Smart offer 24/7 live streaming, HDR imaging, and even night vision so that you can see whose at the door whether it’s day or night, raining, snowing, or foggy outside. The camera starts rolling the moment it detects movement.

Smart doorbells can be connected to smart door locks. This makes it possible for you to open the door when your children forget their keys. You can let the plumber in while you are away at work. You can even let your neighbor make his way into your garage so he can borrow your lawnmower while you are off on a family vacation. Smart door locks give you significant control over who enters your home without the need to hand out spare keys that are easily lost, copied, or stolen. If you ever find yourself in a rush and forget to lock the door on your way out of the house, all you have to do is log in through your app and lock your home up tight.

Similarly, smart cameras can be positioned around the exterior and throughout the interior of your home. These can be programed to start recording whenever movement is detected. When the camera rolls, it can send an alert to your phone so that you can see who is moving around and whether there is a threat that you need to address. If there is a threat such as a burglar or a fire, these recordings can be used as evidence to obtain a conviction or to process an insurance claim.

Finally, fire is an ever present threat to any home. Smart smoke detectors detect smoke, carbon monoxide, and other toxic elements in your home’s atmosphere. They then send immediate alerts to your smartphone. These devices can tell you where in the home the fire is burning, how hot it is burning, and what path the fire is taking through your home. This makes it possible for you to provide real-time information to first responders so that they can quickly determine the fastest and most efficient method of putting the fire out.

Many smart smoke detectors can also alert you to dangerous weather events in the area including hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. This gives your family advanced warning of impending dangers so that you can get everyone to safety before disaster strikes.

Smart Homes are the Future of Family Life

You may not see George Jetson when you look in the mirror, but the reality is that you are more like him than you may realize. While Elon Musk is busy building the cars that will drive you to work and drop your kids off at school in the future, the reality is that the world of tomorrow isn’t over the horizon; it’s here right now and tomorrow isn’t that far away.

As WiFi enabled devices proliferate, so too will the advantages smart home technology offers. The number of internet enabled devices surpassed mobile phone sales last year and it is estimated by that 2025 there will be more than 75 billion internet enabled devices in homes and offices worldwide. Coupled with advances in artificial intelligence, this means everything from the television to the toaster are getting smarter and more adaptable for the 21st century lifestyle.

Not long ago, Comcast decided to identify how users were using voice enabled devices. Their research showed that 61% of people use their voice controlled devices to play music. 60% use it for weather reports, and 54% use it to do everything from asking questions about homework to solving those unsolvable crossword puzzles. Data shows that 39% use it for asking directions and setting alarms, while 22% use it for shopping. In 2018, the company recorded more than 600 million voice commands per month and that number grew rapidly throughout the year. It’s a bellwether for the future that you can take advantage of today.

For your family, the advances in smart home technology means a more comfortable lifestyle that you can enjoy every day of the year. It makes it easier for your children to do their homework, and for you to control their television viewing habits. It makes it possible for you to run a hot bath for your wife that is ready when she gets home from a long day at work, and for you to scare away intruders while you sit back and relax on a beach halfway around the world. With a few taps on your phone or tablet, your hole family can control everything from the temperature in your living room on a cold winter’s day to the brightness of the lights on your patio on a hot summer night.

Homeowners are Spending Big for Smart Home Technology

How much you spend, and what devices you decide to buy are entirely up to you. It is common for people to take baby steps when incorporating smart home tech into their lives. Many start with a smart thermostat, smart doorbell, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or smart bulbs. The comfort and convenience these provide soon leads to the purchase of other, more sophisticated devices with even greater functionality. By 2026, it’s estimated that the size of the home automation market will exceed more than $65 billion annually.

When homeowners take the plunge and go all in, that leads to the purchase of lighting systems, home security systems, home theater systems, and other more complex installations. These can run anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 to install. But, don’t let the cost deter you because these bring more than just comfort and convenience; they are assets that enhance the value of the home and make it more appealing to prospective homebuyers in the future.


Leave a Comment