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The Commonwealth Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Can Smart Devices Add Value to Your Home?

Digital devices are a standard in modern America, and it’s often thought that people no longer distinguish the virtual world from the physical in the way they used to. The more advanced technology becomes, the more seamlessly our devices and digital services integrate with our every day lives. Of course, we want all our devices to work together, and inevitably, this led to the types of innovations that gave birth to the smart home.

It’s a term you’ve probably heard bandied about quite often, but you may not have stopped to think about what it means. A “smart” device is one that can act both interactively and autonomously, and it connects with the internet and other devices via wireless options including Bluetooth, NFC, or even Wi-Fi or cellular connections (e.g., 3G, 4G, LTE). Thus, a “smart home” is one that leverages one or more of these devices for a variety of tasks.

Why Own Smart Home Devices?

The answer to this question will vary by owner. For instance, the disabled or elderly may want improved accessibility and communications, while families with children may be more interested in security. Similarly, single, young professionals may be looking more toward convenience.

However, the power of smart devices is in their interconnectivity and personalization. A homeowner isn’t limited to just one type of device. They can mix and match as desired to suit their lifestyle.

What Are They Really Capable Of?

Smart home devices have been developed to meet practically any need, and it would be a safe bet that if a need hasn’t been met yet, there’s an innovation on the horizon to match. Browsing the top electronics and news sites (e.g., PCMag, Fortune, CNET), you can find list after list of the top devices or the latest services to debut at major conventions. If there’s a popular device brand you love, chances are good that they offer some sort of device; Google, Apple, and Amazon all offer options for various purposes. Here’s a snapshot of what you can find on the market:

Security

From surveillance cameras to video doorbells and even the very locks on your doors, smart devices can handle safety concerns wirelessly. Most will connect with your phone, laptop, or tablet to give you complete control and tune in from anywhere. These options can provide additional security – for instance, they can’t be interrupted by cutting your landline – along with piece of mind. Many times, they’re also simpler to set up, and may be less expensive than traditional security systems.

Lighting

Smart bulbs can be programmed to turn on by request, or simply by coming home. In fact, depending on the brand, they can even be programmed to change color to indicate an alert on your phone (e.g., a text from work or a phone call from you kids). They’re made with LEDs, so even if you don’t have them programmed to turn off when you leave the house, they’ll save on your electric bill.

Temperature Control

You’ve probably heard of the Nest thermostat, but it’s hardly the only option on the market anymore. Program these thermostats to change settings throughout the day or control them directly from your phone. Depending on the brand, it may even feature computer learning that learns your habits and programs itself for you based on a variety of indicators, including time of day, outdoor and indoor temperature, or humidity. Furthermore, you can amplify both savings and comfort because if you’ve forgotten to turn off the air conditioning before you go, you can do it from your phone. If it’s really cold outside, you can also start the heater before heading home.

Personal Assistants

If you’re used to using Siri or a similar digital assistant, then this concept won’t be all that foreign to you. These hubs listen for voice commands and follow through with a variety of procedures. That may mean reordering paper towels from an online store, calling your mom, turning on the lights in individual rooms, or playing your favorite song. The more smart home devices that you connect to it, the more versatile they become.

And Much More

It might not be hyperbole to say the sky’s the limit with the potential for smart devices. There are smart cooking devices to manage perfect sous vide or smoked barbecue, cleaning devices that make the typical Roomba seem outdated, and even smart hubs to control both your sprinkler system and hands-free lawnmower bots. If you’re interested in smart home technology, it’s well worth your time to peruse developments from events like CES, where major brands unveil their latest offerings.

But Do These Devices Add Real Value to My Home?

If you’re worried about whether investing in smart home devices can hurt the value of your home, don’t. Consider the fact that conservative estimates peg the global smart home market to be worth $53.4 billion by 2022 alone (per Statista). Already, household penetration is at 32% here in the U.S., but that will grow to more than 53% by 2022, and North America is the leading market (Statista Forecast). By its very nature, this growth indicates that more and more homebuyers will be interested in having smart home devices.

However, if you’re preparing to sell your home, make this choice carefully. Choose trusted brands with great reviews, which will help improve how attractive the system is to buyers. You may also want to stick with core basics that are unquestioningly valuable. Smart lighting systems help save money while adding a significant level of convenience, for example. Security systems are also a good choice, especially if you utilize technology that doesn’t require a service contract, or which can be integrated with certain services (e.g., security firm ADT will integrate Nest devices).

Smart home technology is quickly becoming the new norm, whether it’s in small ways like leveraging a digital assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa or crucial ways like home monitoring systems that let parents watch if their kids open the front door. These tools add convenience to our every day moments, and more than that, they add value. Choosing the right devices will add real value to your property if you’re looking to sell.


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