I have been thinking a lot lately about the smart home of the future, what is driving it, and what in the past has held back widespread adoption. Naturally, cost and lack of integration could easily be cited as two of the biggest hurdles to building the smart home of the future, but some of that is beginning to dissipate. So, then, what’s next? There are three big trends to watch in the home in the months ahead. Let’s explore them now.
New Needs in the Home
The COVID-19 has changed much in every walk of life, but especially in our homes. According to Lennox, about three-in-five homeowners say they are prioritizing air quality in their home now more than they did a year ago. Roughly 61% of homeowners say they are willing to spend money to improve this.
At the same time, many homeowners now need new space for home offices, as the work-from-home trend rages on. The open-concept movement has now been replaced by separate offices, as in some case two parents need to work at home at least part of the time.
Home healthcare is also on the rise. Parks Associates suggests as of April 2021, 66% of U.S. broadband households are familiar with telehealth services compared to 50% in 2020. The use of telehealth services has more than quadrupled, increasing from 15% in 2019 to 64% in 2021. This trend likely isn’t going to slowdown anytime soon—and it is only one example of how technology has proliferated the home in the last two years.
The bottomline here is needs in homes have changed drastically in the past few years, causing many to turn to technology to fill in some of the gaps.
Costs Coming Down
More than a decade ago, when I started covering AHT (automated home technology), as it was called back then, the cost of smart home technology was one of the largest barriers to adoption. Today, that isn’t as much of a hurdle as it once was. FIXR, which provides cost guides, comparisons, and term cheat sheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation, and repair projects, suggests the average range to install home automation is between $2,000 and $7,000 today.
Naturally this is going to vary by region and type of technology selected, but generally speaking this can include automated lights, locks, thermostat, smart speaker, hub, and smart plugs. The high end cost for this project is around $20,000 to fully automate every room in the home, including lights, blinds, locks, appliances, irrigation system, thermostat, hub, and smart speakers.
It doesn’t take an expert—or a cost guide website—to tell you that prices are coming down. A home security system in the early 2000s was much more complex and expensive than one today.
The Rise of Technology
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons and driving factors for the rise in smart home technologies is that homeowners—and consumers in general—have come to expect it in all walks of life. In 2020, Amazon’s Ring sold more than 1.4 million video doorbells, according to Strategy Analytics’ count. Amazon says more than 100 million Alexa devices have been sold.
At the same time, technology is becoming easier to install and it is becoming more prevalent in every aspect of our world, naturally causing many to consider it when building or renovating a home.
This is the journey Peggy Smedley, and her husband Dave, are on as they are building a Living Lab, with the help of a host of industry partners to encourage ecofriendly and green living. While the project is still underway, technology will be front and center in this Living Lab, helping demonstrate how to build smart, connected, and sustainable homes.
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