The future of smart-home technology won’t focus on what you can add to the home to make it smart, but instead how it can be built into the home as a standard feature. Here are a few advanced ways to take your home beyond 2017:
Fully automate your home’s devices
Personal assistant devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod (coming later this year) are all the buzz in 2017 to connect your home to a virtual assistant. While this technology is already enjoyed by millions, the next step up would be to invest in a true home-automation hub, which allows more devices to connect to a central bridge or hub for use wirelessly from a remote control panel, tablet or smartphone.
A good home automation hub will allow the user to monitor the home’s security, climate, sound, lights and more from one central device. These hubs most often connect to a home WiFi network and act as a central location for each of your smart-home devices.
Looking for a good hub that won’t break the bank? Try out Samsung’s SmartThings Hub which normally runs around $80. This device works with everything from sound to security to lighting and more.
Save money on the electric bill
Smart-home technologies strive to create not only convenience (in the case of home automation hubs), but also efficiency. Solar technologies and home batteries are emerging technologies that many consumers likely have heard of in recent months.
In recent years, Tesla has announced two products that focus on powering homes: Tesla’s Solar Roof and Powerwall. While separate products, both are examples of future advanced smart-home technologies. This technology uses the sun to power the home but appears as a normal roof shingle. Many people complain about the appearance of solar panels, but technologies of tomorrow will create a new aesthetic. This solar power can then be used in the home instantly or stored in a home battery.
In the case of home batteries, such as Tesla’s Powerwall, energy can be stored in large quantities (normally in lithium batteries) for later use. These devices will save the homeowner hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. While still very limited, home batteries will likely become more popular as interest in solar increases.
Not all smart-home technologies are electric
Though the majority of smart-home technologies focus on electronic devices and software, there are a few places that this technology doesn’t need power to use.
Another way to save money on utilities would be through an investment in smart-technology windows that do a much better job insulating the home from the climate outside, making it much easier to heat or cool a home. While windows are already an expensive investment, well-crafted windows and doors can lead to cheaper utilities by keeping the climate inside the home well maintained.
One of the most recommended windows used in smart homes would be Simonton ProFinish windows and doors, which maximize efficiency and were even featured in HGTV’s Smart Home 2017.
Think about the garage
Efficient homes are not the only place that consumers are saving money; hybrid and electric car purchases are also becoming more popular. With this, homes must also become smarter to accommodate this change in taste.
Many smart homes are being constructed with a car charging station. Since many electric vehicles don’t have the same range on a single charge compared to traditional gasoline or diesel vehicle, setting up a charging station at home is a good way to maximize efficiency.
Most hybrid or electric car purchasers have the option to install a charging port in their home. As more people opt for electric or hybrid cars, the demand for these charging ports will be greater. This may create a positive resale feature for a home with charging ports already installed.
Extend your WiFi network to your appliances
Finally, smart homes of the future will continue to interact with the home’s WiFi network. The finishing touches of a smart home will continue to focus on the appliances and personal devices of the home. However, instead of focusing on the basics (climate control and lighting are the two most common), advanced smart homes will take advantage of the plethora of appliances with smart technologies.
From fridges that create shopping lists to toasters that connect to the home’s WiFi network, the sky is the limit on which devices can be added to smart homes. Most people may start small and add a few appliances to their existing home. For new construction, a blank slate may allow the builder to add many smart appliances into the space. The key here is connectivity for as many items as possible to maximize convenience.
Smart-home technologies are here to stay, and their focus will continue to be convenience and efficiency. While many are still being introduced to simple products, the future will likely include many of these advanced projects.
Tim Savoy, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Capitol Hill, writes an occasional column about the Washington-area housing market. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SavoyRealEstate.