Smart homes are a relatively new development in home building. Smart homes are homes that can be easily connected to mobile devices or accessed on a computer via the Internet to allow you to control and interface with components in your home. Smart homes typically will use either a wireless network or Bluetooth to connect to a special router or bridge device that can then be accessed via software or an app on your phone.
Some features that Smart Homes offer:
- Allow you to have a live feed on your phone or computer through connected cameras
- Have the ability to control your thermostat remotely
- Ability to lock or unlock an entry door or garage door
- Ability to turn off or on selected lights
- Get notifications of outages, temperature drops, or security breach notifications
- Video capture
- Control all your music or play streaming music throughout your home
- Logs or storage of data regarding your home such as energy usage or temperature or humidity levels
- Some systems will also let you interface them through your television through a universal remote
- Give alerts when doors are left ajar
As you can see there are endless benefits of having a system like this. You can check up on when your kids get home, or allow someone temporary access to your home, and get them on camera if need be. If you travel a lot or are away for long periods of time, this is extremely valuable to keep track of your home. Also if you ever lock yourself out of the home you can easily gain access to your property without calling a locksmith or waiting for a family member to come rescue you with spare set of keys.
There are many ways to have a Smart Home. Currently, there are tons of individual products that can be connected to your computer or phone and many of these can be purchased at retail stores or online. While this piecemeal approach may be affordable and work for some, these individual devices will not work together. For most people having multiple apps to control the various products can be cumbersome and limits use of them down the road.
There are several new solutions currently available and more continue to hit the market as this popular technology grows. Many of these providers offer more complete packages where you can control multiple facets of your home from one app or dashboard. Control 4 is a good example as they provide their code to all electronics manufacturers so that their product will work with almost any device. I recently installed a completely functional Control 4 Smart Home System at our Parade of Homes Model that is on display and can be fully demonstrated in the Village of Hartland.
If Smart Homes is something you are planning on adding to your new homes, please make sure do your homework first, build in the required wiring you need now as well as for the future, and make sure to choose systems that can be updated and work with multiple platforms so your system doesn’t become outdated too quickly. In the future more of these systems will consolidate and the smaller players will fall off. Check with a reputable builder or service provider so you don’t fall victim to the quick fix and be the one left with an obsolete Betamax!