What Is a Smart Home and Why Should I Install One?

Hristina Nikolovska's picture
Smart Home Control Panel

Have you ever been in a situation where you were just enjoying some quality time with your family and friends in the park, and then all of a sudden, you started having some nagging doubts whether you turned the coffee maker off, or switched the water off? If the answer is yes, then you will appreciate a smart home. An installed smart home could give you the peace of mind you deserve, and quiet all of these worries with a glance at your tablet or a smartphone.

In this article, we’ll lay out some smart home tech facts to show you how much of a difference smart home technology can make in your life.

What Is a Smart Home?

The term ‘Smart Home’ refers to a convenient home setup in which appliances and devices can be monitored, tracked, and controlled remotely by a time schedule from any location in the world by phone or internet. Powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), smart home systems’ appliances can communicate with each other, and perform automating actions based on the homeowner’s preferences. In other words, you can access and remotely control functions such as heating, lighting, air conditioning, entertainment audio & video systems, and so on, from any internet-connected place in the world. Basically, any electrical device can be put on your home network and at your disposal at all times. Whether you give the command by remote control, voice, smartphone or tablet – the home reacts.

Now that we’ve explained what a smart home is, let’s have a look at how the evolution of smart homes as a concept happened over the years along with the timelines.

The Origins of the Smart Home

The genesis of many smart home products was 1967 – the year when Westinghouse engineer James Sutherland developed the first smart device called ECHO IV. Although the device was never commercially sold, the clever device could do all kinds of things – compute shopping lists, regulate the home’s temperature, and turn the appliances on and off.

In 1980, Roy Mason, a futuristic architect, created a series of experimental homes that contained some of the earliest home automation systems. The houses had over 15 rooms, all of which used computers heavily in their design. Namely, all the rooms were run by Commodore computers – one computer was designed to prepare meals, the other to monitor your health, as well as the one designed for weather forecasting. Although the idea of creating a home filled with ‘friendly computer servants’ looked promising at first, the project quickly began to lose popularity due to the dwindling interests in the building technology.

It took until the late 90s for the small mobile phones to become mainstream, and by 2000s, iPods and smartphones were sold in massive numbers. The development of advanced computing technologies and sophisticated home broadband to connect it quickly met with the ongoing desire for easier home life. As a result, different forms of domestic technologies, home networking, and other gadgets began to appear at the market. Suddenly, smart homes became a more accessible option and a practical solution for consumers.

On November 2014, Amazon released Echo – a smart speaker featuring an AI personal assistant called Alexa. In 2016, Apple launched its unified Home app which served as a centralized hub for managing Apple smart home-enabled accessories.

Nowadays, the main driving force behind creating a smart home is security and sustainability. Today’s smart homes are about improving security, protecting the environment, and preserving energy.

Now, let’s go over the top emerging tech trends that we believe will have a profound impact on the housing market.

Voice Control Devices in Smart Homes

Voice control devices and virtual assistants are becoming more popular and are undergoing improvements and updates on a regular basis to become smarter and more user-friendly. Products like Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri have become viable platforms for controlling smart homes. In fact, 72% of Americans who already own smart-home products controlled remotely by a computer, tablet, smartphone, or separate automatic system within the home itself want to be able to use their voice to control smart home appliances.

Unsurprisingly, younger generations are more likely to have installed voice capability on their smart home products, with Millennials (ages 18-34) leading the trend. Namely, 58% of Millenials have already purchased smart home products that already have voice recognition features. Gen Xers (ages 35-54) aren’t too far behind at 50%, while BabyBoomers (ages 55+) are trailing with 26%.

Home Security in Smart Homes

Although crime rates have been steadily declining for years in the US, consumers are more concerned about security than ever before. Nowadays, people across the globe are investing their money on home security. Security systems could range from security cameras or light sensors to a wide range of integrated ‘smart home’ solutions. The global security market is projected to surpass $100 billion by 2020, and home security systems will account for almost a half ($47 million) of the planned budget.

Remote Monitoring and Control

Three out of five Americans purchase smart home products so they can monitor their house via their smartphone. Having remote access to their homes allows them to control, view, and monitor their home when they are at work or on vacation. This type of control gives customers peace of mind on home security.

The Future of Smart Homes

The future of smart homes looks very bright at this moment, and we are looking forward to seeing which devices and apps will impact the homeowners’ lives the most. We know that a comfortable and convenient living experience is a top priority for many of our readers, which is why we’re constantly exploring new technology and innovation in the smart home market, and how it can be used to benefit our readers. Hopefully, we’ve managed to answer your questions about what a smart home is and what it brings to the table.

Add new comment