Time travel, flying cars, smart homes – these sound like topics out of a 1960’s science fiction book. While the first two may not be possible, the latter is coming to fruition in major ways. Over the past decade, technologically advanced houses, or smart homes, have gone from a futuristic idea to reality.
Smart Homes on the Rise
In 1999, the Disney Channel produced an original move about a tech-savvy teenager and his family. Titled Smart House, this film followed the lives of a teenager and his family after winning a computerized home that eventually takes on a life of its own. While the idea seemed so far-fetched and futuristic at the time, a look back shows just how far we’ve come. The idea that a home could be controlled from a centralized keypad was fantasy in the late 1990s; but we now know its reality.
Over the past few years in particular, consumers have embraced new devices and software, and have become more comfortable with integrating technology into the home. Thankfully, there are no signs of these technologies taking on lives of their own. That part is still Disney fiction.
According to iControl Networks’ latest State of the Smart Home report, consumer adoption of smart home technologies is expected to grow from 1.9 billion devices in 2014 to more than 9 billion by the year 2018. That number will be driven by the fact that 60 percent of U.S. homes have interest in the benefits that come from various smart home products.
A completely different study shows that almost two-thirds of respondents are what they would classify as “moderately or extremely interested” and 44 percent claim cost savings related to improved efficiency would be a key driving factor in purchase decisions. However, the potential for widespread adoption isn’t quite there . A hefty 66 percent said they are still concerned about potential privacy issues with smart home solutions.
That doesn’t mean consumers won’t get to a point where they’ll be comfortable with these new technologies; it will just take time and lots of consumer education. According to the iControl Networks study, more than half of respondents believe a singular device that controls everything in the home will be the norm within the next decade.
A Look at the Top Technologies
While consumers are being forced to change their outlook and adopt new technologies, so are those in the construction industry. Accord Construction, one of the leading roofing companies in Oklahoma City, has been forced to adjust to new developments in construction and foresees even more changes coming in the future. Plenty of other contractors are feeling the shift in the industry as well, with many being forced to invest in ongoing employee education programs over the past few months.
While the rise of smart home technology is certainly new and somewhat foreign to most people, it’s equally exciting and intriguing. Here are a few of the top smart home technologies currently in the marketplace.
- Remote access security cameras. For frequent business travelers and people who spend large periods of time away from home, remote access security cameras are becoming extremely popular. These cameras can be placed inside and outside the home and controlled or viewed via a remotely connected device.
- Smart temperature control. The new Nest thermostat popularized smart temperature control and there are now plenty of competitors in the marketplace. These devices learn your habits and adjust accordingly, saving users energy and money.
- Automated lighting. As with temperature control technology, automated lighting devices are extremely popular now and can be effortlessly integrated into existing homes. Most are either controlled from a central panel or via a smart mobile device. These LED lights allow the user to control color, brightness, and a variety of other elements.
- Fully integrated platforms. While you can install individual components, devices, and technologies, all signs are pointing towards a future where fully integrated platforms control everything from lighting and temperature to security features and appliances. Some already exist, but they are still in the developmental stages of being refined and tweaked.
The Future is Now
What seemed like mere fantasies 20 years ago are now realities. The future is here and smart home technology is becoming more popular than ever. Whether it’s something as simple as automated lighting or complex as a fully integrated software platform, one thing is for sure: American homes will never be the same.