If the rumblings from 2016’s International Consumer Electronics Show are true, then you can expect a monumental increase in the number of devices — and a wider array of functionality — available from smart home manufacturers. And they’re only growing in popularity among homeowners: According to the June 2015 Houzz & Home study, almost half of those surveyed will purchase some form of smart home technology by the end of 2016.
What does this have to do with your remodeling business? As it turns out, a lot. According to U.S. News & World Report, homeowners are starting to lump a smart tech upgrade into renovation plans — in 2014, 23 percent of those polled said a recent remodel included the integration of smart home products. So if you want to stay ahead of your customer’s needs, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the latest smart home products and devices, as well as the trends dominating the market.
The rise of the home hub
You can see how owning a panoply of smart products — each with their own app and settings — could get a little messy. They make neat gadgets for the tech-obsessed, but simple and streamlined they are not. That’s why a lot of developers’ focus this year has been on introducing their own take on unified controls. Major players, like Apple, Google, and Amazon, have all released their own smart home systems, and the fight for consumers’ dollars is heating up.
Meanwhile, popular manufacturers like Samsung are betting that the center of the smart home system will be organized around the TV. Its new SUHD television is compatible with SmartThings, an existing smart home technology that’s available in a variety of products — smart locks, thermostats, home monitoring and more.
From a remodeler’s perspective, there’s a service opportunity opening up as smart technology increases in complexity. Many electricians will want to collaborate with programmers or installers who can set up elaborate smart systems and help you decide what wiring is necessary to accommodate energy-heavy smart products.
Smarter security systems
Move over, smart thermostats — there’s a new technology on the block: the smart security system. Keeping homes safe has been a major theme among this year’s smart tech offerings, with Netatmo unveiling their Presence security camera, which can supposedly differentiate between humans, cars and animals. And LG announced a partnership with security service ADT to bring their own smart security system to market.
On the other side of the fence, existing smart security makers have started to branch out to produce other smart products, like Vivant, which released yet another thermostat onto the market to accompany their security devices. Expect to see more security systems rolling new functionality into their devices as well.
Wiser water management
Moving to the backyard, automated technology has taken up the issue of irrigation management. Sprinkler systems are notorious water wasters and account for a shocking 256 gallons of water an hour. GreenIQ’s garden hub and Nortek’s GoControl, on the other hand, control sprinkler valves and allow end users to manage them remotely from their phones.
These kind of products are definitely still in their infancy, with under 10 percent of homeowners currently using them, but you can expect to see growth in this facet of smart home tech especially with droughts in the news.
The automated thermostat is already a well-known member of the smart home family, but a home’s heating and cooling relies on a lot more than seamless temperature control. Keen Home has released new smart vents and filters that extend the reach of existing HVAC controls, allowing users to customize settings for a specific area of the home to eliminate hot and cold spots. Smart humidifiers and air purifiers should start making the rounds soon as well, adding up to a future that’s a lot more connected and personalized.
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner, whose work can be read on Modernize.com. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes full time.
Modernize is a driving force in online lead generation — connecting high-quality local contractors with homeowners looking to complete home improvement projects of all kinds. Modernize also focuses heavily on making things energy efficient through sustainable home improvements such as solar panels and upgraded roofing.