Incorporate smart home features into your projects to attract tech-savvy homebuyers
By Jennifer Franz
Home automation is a key builder consideration. Equipment manufacturers have created smart home devices in response to homebuilders’ needs to have a more interactive, convenient, safe, and energy-efficient home. Building with smart technology in mind usually means people can live cleaner, greener, and leaner at the touch of a button or the swipe of an app, and find better peace of mind in the process. Ranging from security to cooking, these devices usually feature a connection to a home Wi-Fi network and are often accessible through a mobile device.
For homebuilders, locks are still one of the most important devices involved in building. Smart locks take security and convenience to a new level. By connecting to a central hub in a home via a wireless signal, smart locks can be locked and unlocked using a smartphone. This device also lets users grant temporary access to friends or family, and after that temporary period expires, access is denied.
Today’s smart home surveillance and monitoring systems have moved past security, and are now just as much about remote interaction. Today’s easy-to-implement, Internet-connected cameras allow homebuilders to watch a live video feed of what’s happening at their projects from anywhere in the world. Homebuilders can have the ability to confirm closure right from their smartphone. Homebuilders also can use their smartphones to grant contractors or maintenance personnel access to the garage door remotely. Smart garage doors even have the capability to use a smartphone’s GPS to automatically open the door.
When a smart doorbell rings, it immediately sends a video feed to the user’s smartphone or television. Smart doorbells can also capture video footage of anyone who rings the doorbell, so it’s just as much about security as it is about interaction.
Smart refrigerators are not just about storage — they’re also about awareness. By using bar code scanners or RFID readers, smart fridges can help keep consumers informed about what’s available to eat. Smart fridges can even be used as information hubs, with integrated televisions and the ability to leave messages for others in the home. Connected cooking appliances can do simple things, like allowing users to start appliances and clean them via smartphone.
By installing smart lighting, you can provide ambience and security. Homebuyers can use their smartphones to dim different lights to create ambience for dinner, or set them to turn on and off to make it appear like someone is still home when they are away, using random patterns that more accurately simulate a busy, occupied home.
Older thermostats used mechanical switches to turn heating and cooling off based on ambient air temperature. One temperature was set and maintained all day and all night. This necessitated an ongoing battle between energy savings and comfort. Next came programmable thermostats, which helped make the situation more bearable. A home’s temperature could be set to different levels based on the activity of its occupants. Now, smart thermostats have changed the game entirely. They can adapt to changes in activity and routine by proactively saving energy whenever possible, based on a family’s actual schedule, reducing system and utility costs and achieving maximum comfort. These technologies work together to find the perfect balance between energy use, temperature, and humidity.
The list of smart products is nearly endless, but the key for remodelers, builders, and developers is finding a way to create a platform of connectedness that ultimately makes homebuyers’ lives easier and more efficient. Smart builders build smart homes, and smart consumers look for home automation that saves energy, increases comfort, and provides safety and security.
Jennifer Franz is an informed source on a variety of home technology- and home connectivity-related topics. She may be reached at lennox.com.