With more consumers enjoying High Speed Internet access to stream movies and other media formats, that extra broadband is also being put to good use making the Internet of Things a vital part of many homeowners’ daily life. Once the domain of the esoteric, the Home Automation market is gradually coming of age and entering the mainstream. Homeowners are now able to easily control appliances, lighting, and more from their smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet.
If you are still considering turning your residence into a digital smart home, now is the time for further exploration. Home builders are adding HA features to their new construction projects, but you can also add basic Home Automation capability to your current house or apartment. Read on to learn more about this growing trend.
Home Builders Increasingly Adding Home Automation to New Construction
If you are in the market for a brand new house, you may find that Home Automation functionality is already included. Home construction companies are beginning to build new residences compatible with the Internet of Things. The competition to attract new home buyers is driving this trend for many home builders.
A 2014 Forrester Research survey noted that nearly 20 percent of U.S. Internet users are already taking advantage of their broadband service for Home Automation. Forrester also feels that by 2020 nearly half of American households will include significant HA functionality. This market research data is one of the reasons leading home builders to construct new builds that are already Digital Smart Homes.
Of course, interested shoppers looking for a newly-built home enjoy the option to include HA features as an extra. One California builder, KB Home, tacks on Home Automation capability to a brand new three-bedroom home for an extra $20,000. Considering the higher cost of living on the West Coast, you can expect that extra cost to be cheaper in other regions of the country.
The wide variety of vendors offering their own Home Automation solutions makes things more difficult for builders choosing a system for their new construction. “Offering 10 different solutions in one house would be costly. Ultimately, you need one low-cost solution that integrates all of it,” said Dan Bridleman, a senior vice president at KB Home. Considering that many new home buyers will look to expand their HA system after moving into their new home, vendor choice is an important factor for both home builders and shoppers.
Some Home Builders Focus on Home Security Over Home Entertainment
Many home builders place more emphasis on providing HVAC and Home Security features with their new construction as opposed to entertainment and smart appliance functionality. When the Home Automation market was in a nascent stage in the early 2000s, some builders and subsequent purchasers were burned by “fly by night” entertainment HA providers with buggy systems and poor support. Working with veteran Home Security companies allows construction firms to market robust solutions for interested buyers, who can then expand their system to include support for appliances and entertainment centers.
This year’s International Builders Show and Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas featured a host of Home Automation vendors competing for the eyes of the home construction and renovation market. While many Internet of Things device makers were present, AT&T also held court, demoing their Digital Life Home Automation product for the show attendees. Virginia Tech showed off their concept for a futuristic kitchen powered by either voice commands, a mobile device, or wall-mounted touchscreen panels.
Still, the multitude of HA product vendors continue to prove that the future is now when it comes to Home Automation. If you decide on foregoing a builder-installed automation or security system for your new house, there are many options for adding one after you move. The DIY route, using an open architecture like with SmartThings, offers you flexibility and potential cost savings, while using a turnkey solution from a company like AT&T or industry veteran, Honeywell provides the extra piece of mind from professional 24/7 monitoring.
Whatever your final decision on Home Automation at your residence, the maturing market means there are many options for every need and every budget. Do your research and make a wise decision.
Photo Credit: Brock Builders