The Smart Home Revolution
We’ve all seen thrilling depictions of the future on television and in movies. These science-fiction scenarios always seem to include flying cars and houses that think for themselves. While flying cars are a way off (believe it or not, folks are working on them), the thinking house is becoming an exciting reality right here and now.
Smart homes and home automation are synonymous terms for new technologies that may deliver a more intelligent way of domestic living.
What is another term for a smart home?
The first smart home innovation began in 1975, with a product dubbed the X10. This device utilized a home’s existing power line wires for communication. Over the next 40 years, improvements in networking techology have surpassed this initial offering by leaps and bounds.
So what makes a smart home so smart? There are so many products being unveiled at such a rapid pace these days that it can be hard to keep track of every upgrade. Below we will peel back the many layers surrounding this craze and focus on the key aspects.
When was smart home technology first introduced?
What is a Smart Home?
In the simplest terms, a smart home is any home that has technology that can be remotely controlled and configured using a computer, smart phone, or tablet device. In a sufficiently smart home you could, without getting out of bed, tell your coffee maker to whip up a piping hot caramel latte for you. While novelty and convenience are certainly part of the appeal of smart home offerings, many people are adopting the technology to save money and secure their families and property.
Which of these devices can be used to remotely control your security system?
As smart homes are still relatively new, there are some myths that need to be debunked. One myth is that if you supply power to your home with solar panels, you are ineligible for smart home perks. This is decidedly false; waves of advances in both technologies have made this a moot point.
True or False: Solar panels cannot be used in conjunction with smart home products
Another smart home myth relates to the ease of use of many of these products; many older users have been vocally concerned about the increasingly complicated ways in which homes operate. However, senior citizens should be aware that there are smart home products designed specifically for their age group.
True or False: Most smart home systems are only geared towards a younger audience
The average annual amount spent on energy costs for a normal home is approximately $2,2001. This means that investing in smart home products could save quite a bit of money in the long run.
What is the average amount spent on energy costs for a single home every year?
Take a Break
If you are a home owner and opt into some of the energy efficient smart products on the market, you may be eligible for quite a few tax breaks. These programs differ from state to state, but can offer huge incentives if you qualify.
True or False: Smart energy efficient products can qualify you for tax incentives
Keeping Cool and Staying Warm
Can you guess what the most popular smart home products are? If you're thinking “thermostat,” then you are getting hot. The number one product that people wish to control in their home is central heating and cooling. Considering that temperature control accounts for the largest portion of energy use on a monthly basis, it’s no suprise that a smart thermostat is the most common smart home device.
What is the #1 product that users wish to control with home automation?
Get Smart with Your Thermostat
Being able to program a heating/cooling schedule and monitor energy costs with a smart thermostat has offered millions of consumers a way to save time and money. Nowadays, as you prepare to leave work, you can tell your smart thermostat to start cranking up the heat at home, so that by the time you arrive home your house is nice and toasty.
Which of these is a feature of most smart thermostats?
Changing the Way You Use Appliances
Have you ever left your house and cursed yourself for leaving the television on? Now you can simply log on to the smart phone app on your phone and turn the TV off. Or perhaps you put wet clothes in the dryer but forgot to turn it on; coming home to dry clothes can now be done remotely.1
Most of the major appliance manufacturers have begun rolling out lines of smart products. Have you ever wanted to start a load of laundry — or start preheating your oven — on your way home? The common thread of these products is they offer conveniences that were once only dreamt about. They also provide potential energy savings and might boost the value of your home.
Which of the following can you do remotely with smart home technology?
The Ultimate Home Defense
While there is no denying the appeal of warm socks when you get home, the home security industry is taking the usefulness of smart home technology to another level entirely. Did you know that you are 5 times more likely to be burgled if you do not have a security system?1 This means it’s paramount to have a sophisticated and easy to use system in place.
Smart video surveillance systems are now saving lives on a regular basis. Being able to simply check in on your camera’s feed with your smart phone enables you to take complete control over your property. You can also receive notifications to your phone whenever someone opens a door, cabinet, window, etc.
Since remote capabilities are the backbone of the smart home resurgence, you can make sure your home is safe no matter where you are. This means that you can remotely lock your doors and arm your existing security system. You can even have a text message sent to you whenever someone rings the doorbell.
Likeliness of a break-in occurring in a home without a security system
Another major function of home automation is controlling home lighting. As many people use lighting to maintain a safe property, this is a welcome innovation. You can control your entire lighting system remotely and can maintain a well-lit home and exterior even when you aren’t there. Because lighting accounts for 14% of total residential electricity consumption1, being able to control your lights remotely could help you save considerably on energy consumption.
Lighting accounts for what percentage of energy consumed nationwide?
Other Safety Benefits
In addition to protecting your home in general, the smart home boom is helping to further protect the people inside. Do you have anything in place to warn you of a burst pipe in your basement? With today’s technology you can have a flood notification sent straight to your phone. This goes hand in hand with robust weather notification systems. You’ll never be left standing in the rain again.
While the majority of people are equipped with a handful of smoke alarms in their homes, there have been lifesaving innovations in recent years. Smart home technology can send a text message sent straight to your phone when smoke has been detected, even when you’re not home.
True or False: Smart Home Technology can detect smoke and send a warning notification to your phone (even when you’re not home)
You Can’t See CO!
Smart home alarm and phone-alerting features have also been applied to carbon monoxide monitoring. With over 20,000 reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning every year, it’s clear that smart home technology has a role to play in fighting this invisible killer.
How many reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are there every year?
No Pet Unprotected
How about protecting those furry loyal friends of yours? Smart home innovations are making protecting your pets easier than ever. You can set up cameras to monitor their behavior during the day, have automatic alerts sent to the fire department, and utilize unique motion detectors that will only pick up pet activity.
How can smart home products help protect your pets?
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(Correct answers are green)
- What is another term for a smart home?
- Future Home
- Home Automation – Smart home and home automation are basically synonymous with one another.
- Sci-fi Home
- Robotic Home
- When was smart home technology first introduced?
- 1975 – The first smart home product was dubbed the, “X10”. This innovation was revolutionary back then and is the basis for many of the smart home products of today.
- Which of these devices can be used to remotely control your security system?
- Smart Phone
- All of the above – As long as you have a device that has Wi-Fi access and a screen, odds are you can access your smart home products from it.
- True or False: Solar panels cannot be used in conjunction with smart home products
- False – As smart home technology is so new, many people just don’t have the facts straight yet! However, you can absolutely utilize smart products even if you have solar panels.
- True or False: Most smart home systems are only geared towards a younger audience
- False – Many smart home products are designed especially for senior citizen users. They combine health related alerts with a distinct ease of use!
- What is the average amount spent on energy costs for a single home every year?
- $2000 – This number can certainly fluctuate, but the average home is spending about $2000.
- True or False: Smart energy efficient products can qualify you for tax incentives
- True – Many energy efficient products will let you get reimbursed on a yearly basis.
- What is the #1 product that users wish to control with home automation?
- Central Heating – Above all else, people want to be able to cut costs on their heating and air conditioning every year. Smart home products are making this easier than ever.
- Kitchen Appliances
- Which of these is a feature of most smart thermostats?
- Programmable schedules
- Energy savings on a yearly basis
- Digital displays
- All of the above – Smart thermostats have made leaps and bounds in the past few years.
- Which of the following can you do remotely with smart home technology?
- Read your kids a bedtime story
- Check to see if you left the television on – An example of one of the many things you can do with home automation!
- Turn on the shower
- Open and close your windows
- Likeliness of a break-in occurring in a home without a security system
- 2 times more likely
- 4 times more likely
- 5 times more likely – This number reflects the fact that there is no reason not to have a security system in place these days! With the surge of smart, easy to use products there’s no better time to get your home up to speed.
- 7 times more likely
- Lighting accounts for what percentage of energy consumed nationwide?
- 14% – While 14% may not seem like that much, it can very quickly add up. Every time you forget to turn off that bathroom light or leave the exterior lights during the day, you are contributing to that statistic. Smart lighting systems can curb this cost and allow you to maintain a safe home.
- None of the above
- True or False: Smart Home Technology can detect smoke and send a warning notification to your phone (even when you’re not home)
- True – Smart home products with enabled fire safety can alert you of smoke even if you are out of the house.
- How many reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are there every year?
- Below 10,000
- 10,000 – 15,000
- 15,000 – 20,000
- Above 20,000 – Startling isn’t it? Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable, yet still accounts for a large number of deaths each year.
- How can smart home products help protect your pets?
- Alerting the fire department in case of emergency
- Specially designed motion sensors
- Real time video feed of your pets
- All of the above – Not just for the humans of the world; smart home products have been targeting pets of all shapes and sizes.