Most people have absolutely no idea what a Smart Home is. Is it a fancy word for home security? Is it a way to spy on your kids when they get out of school? Is it about being smart with your energy consumption? Does it talk to you when you are lonely and cook you dinner? Okay, maybe that’s asking a little too much. But in all seriousness, most of us have really never thought about automating our home, and that’s okay, we’ve been getting along just fine without it.
In 2014, we are going to see 8.5 million homes step up to the plate and put in a home automation system, and just like the iPhone and iPad, Smart Homes are quickly becoming the next big thing that you didn’t know you needed. I’m not talking about an automatic timer you put on your coffee maker either, I’m talking real applications that save you time, money, and effort. Honestly, who actually wants get out of bed in the middle of a cold winter night to turn on the heater? Wouldn’t it be nice to turn up the heat from your phone or tablet? I’m going to go ahead and answer this one for America, YES!
OK, so what exactly is a Smart Home?
Smart Home, home automation, the “connected” home. There are many terms that get thrown around and this seems to cause a fair amount of confusion when trying to figure out just what it is/does/costs…
So here it is in a nutshell:
Smart Home, is a term used to explain home automation; which allows you to monitor and control your entire home, from anywhere at anytime using almost any device. Yes that means your iPhone, iPad, Android etc.
Here are a few ideas on how you can utilize this around the home:
How popular is home automation?
This really only scratches the surface of what home automation can really do. According to Forrester, a global market research company, the most popular connected home device is security systems.
North America is the most advanced region in the world for smart home systems and the forecast has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) set at a strong 55%. By 2017 there are expected to be 31.4 million American homes with a home automation system running the show. So the question is, who is going to be showing off first, you or your neighbor?
It really saves you a ton of money. Really.
Okay so having all of these devices in the palm of your hand, no matter where you are sounds pretty cool. But bottom line here, how does this really benefit my bottom dollar? Well you like money right? Well just by being a homeowner you can instantly save money:
The coolest thing in the world
I work for Smith Monitoring, a home security company based here in Texas. I moved to Texas from London about 8 years ago and I have become very familiar with Texas weather (which means I have absolutely no idea when it’s going to be hot or cold) and I wanted to stop having expensive utility bills. So I decided to invest in our top selling product!
First of all, this system is not expensive and really does pay for itself. It just comes down to how well you utilize it. The biggest difference that I found can be made off the bat is energy efficiency. When you think about it, changing the thermostat before you leave for work and changing it again when you get home and waiting for the home to heat up or cool down really is just a ridiculous waste of money. How much of your heating and cooling are you actually benefiting from throughout the day?
The average monthly energy bill is 56% heating and cooling the household. When I got my SMART+ HOME system I used the preset energy saving features that came with it and my bill one month later was lower than previous months (about 20% less). After getting that bill it became an addiction to see just how low I could go!
Being able to set my thermostat to heat up or cool down to my desired temperature automatically when I’m on my WAY HOME makes so much more sense. My home actually senses how far away I am by using my smartphone as a ‘homing beacon’ and my thermostat begins to warm up the house for me. So when I walk in the door, everything is toasty! No buttons to push, no reminders. Just pure automated magic.
That to me was the coolest thing in the world.