For years, I have been espousing the need for standards in the smart home—something homebuyers desperately need if they are going to gain any sort of interoperability among all their appliances and devices. A smart home is truly only smart if devices can “talk” to each other to improve the functionality in the home such as temperature, lighting, and home theatre, just to name a few.
Builders that want to remain competitive in today’s tight market must consider how home technologies fit into the building and sales equation—otherwise homebuyers are going to turn to the competitors who can provide the home they are looking for. Let’s consider the evolution of home standards today.
Do Standards Really ‘Matter?’
More than a year ago, the Connectivity Standards Alliance, formerly the Zigbee Alliance, an international community of more than 550 technology companies committed to open standards for the IoT (Internet of Things), announced the Matter 1.0 specification. Member companies—such as Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, Samsung SmartThings, and Signify—have brought their technologies, experience, and innovations together to ensure Matter meets the needs of all stakeholders including users, product makers, and platforms.
Wi-Fi enables Matter devices to interact over a high-bandwidth local network and allows smart home devices to communicate with the cloud. The result is a seamless, connected home for today’s homeowners—something builders are aiming to provide. Still, there is much more to consider as our home technologies continue to evolve.
Energy, Energy, Energy
While Matter tends to get a lot of press, it isn’t the only standard to consider. We have also seen a lot of activity from the Home Connectivity Alliance, which announced at the end of last year that member companies are adopting the HCA Interface Specification 1.0, which focuses on cloud-to-cloud interoperability and energy management across appliances, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, and TVs in particular. Member companies include Arcelik, LG, Resideo, Samsung, Trane, and Vestel, just to name a few.
At CES 2024 earlier this month, we saw the Home Connectivity Alliance also made a big announcement with the HCA Energy Management Interface Specification 1.0. The key focus here is energy management, as the member companies here are in the best position to determine the energy management potential of appliances.
With this, data is provided such as which appliances consume the most energy, including how much power they use and how to optimize it. Member companies can offer this energy usage insights to homeowners.
As builders, we need to realize the reality is there are as many devices in our home as there are appliances. On average, U.S. households have a total of 22 connected devices. We need to consider how the homes we are building function—and that includes how the technologies inside of it communicate with each other. Gone are the days of standard homes. The future is smart, and builders need to bring it to buyers.
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