Get ready for intelligent technology in the home.
I remember the first time I came face-to-face with “smart home technology.” I was standing in a booth at KBIS, the national kitchen and bath trade show, trying to decide if an internet-enabled computer screen, integrated into the door of a refrigerator, was a winner or a loser.
I was somewhat dubious. The concept was fascinating, but I really wondered if consumers would buy it. It felt gimmicky – like the kind of prototype that exists only for trade shows. What I failed to understand then (but do now!) was how intelligent technology in the home was going to be a game-changer for high-end home brands within a matter of 24-36 months.
Today, new smart home products are being introduced with much greater frequency. The vast majority of them are high-end brands with premium pricing. You see them everywhere. But despite the hype about smart home technology, I think we are still in the early days. There is much more coming, especially as we evolve from technology that allows us to interact with our devices to a technology that allows our devices to interact with each other.
Graham Hiemstra, a tech writer at Cool Hunting, recently featured some of the most intriguing products to reach the market – including smoke detectors, smart locks, and of course, smart appliances.
“Much in the same way the iPhone completely changed how cell phones, cameras and music players are considered, devices like thermostats that learn how warm you like it when you get home from work and autonomous vacuums that wake up when you fall asleep have emerged that hint at a not so distant future in which intelligent technology will be fully integrated into the home,” said Hiemstra.
Aros, the air conditioner from Quirky and GE, can not only be controlled remotely, but can learn from its users’ schedules and past usage, and adjusts accordingly, saving on energy costs. According to its manufacturing team, “it learns from your budget, location, schedule and usage to automatically maintain the perfect temperature and maximize savings for your home. What’s more, it can be controlled from anywhere using the Wink app on your mobile device.”
Don’t make my mistake and under-estimate the market potential for smart home technology. Give some thought to how your home brand can take advantage of this growing trend. If you need a nudge, remember that Nest introduced its much-hyped thermostat in 2011 (one of which I own). Less than two years later, the company was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion.
The smart home is here.