By Gregg Pechmann
Smart home technology has been around for the past decade. However, many of these smart home products were just plug-and-play devices, such as smart speakers, that didn’t deliver the true, connected smart home experience that is available today. But thanks to the adoption of those plug-and-play devices, home buyers are now willing to pay for true smart home solutions that enhance their lifestyle. Here are the key features of smart home systems that are becoming as desirable as the latest countertops and luxury bath fixtures.
Interoperability. Every part of a true smart home system needs to work well with the other parts of the system. The key is that every part, from lighting to HVAC to AV, is part of the same smart home ecosystem, or is from a third party that partners with that ecosystem.
Interfaces. Devices in a smart home system can have a variety of interfaces. There could be a voice user interface—VUI—or a graphical user interface—GUI—such as buttons on a touchscreen. What’s important is that adjusting any part of the connected home should be easily understood by a variety of users. Or an interface might be customized to different people using it at different times, in different rooms.
Automation. These capabilities make smart home living magical—shades opening and closing for cooling, heating, and privacy; hearing your favorite playlist on smart home speakers when you come home; having your indoor lighting adjust to the daylight outside.
AI and Machine Learning Capabilities. Machine learning is the technology that enables devices to log your behavior and adjust their settings accordingly—smart thermostats are a popular example. AI (artificial intelligence) is the technology that allows devices to learn, think, and make predictions. This could be a smart thermostat that would see you put on a sweater and then raise the temperature a few degrees. With these kinds of capabilities, it’s good to reassure buyers that a connected home isn’t a spying robot—it’s only as “smart” as it has to be.
Aesthetics. Smart home technology that’s visible should be pleasing to the eye—flush-mounted speakers, well-designed keypads, flat-panel TVs doubling as digital art displays, for example.
A Hard-Wired Backbone. Many smart home installations can run on Wi-Fi from a single modem-router. Wi-Fi is fine for smartphone and laptop connectivity, and for smart home systems in smaller properties. In larger homes, however, installing a hard-wired backbone is a good idea. These are cables running to wireless access points that result in smoother connectivity. A hard-wired infrastructure also provides a backbone for future system upgrades and property expansions.
An Integrator. This professional knows how to spec, install, and service robust, reliable smart home systems and how to keep them secure. Make sure the smart home system was done by an integrator who is available if needed in the future.
Image: Pexels (Andrea Piacquadio)