Data is an increasing point of discussion for the potential it can have to benefit a wide variety of industries, from agricultural to automotive, manufacturing and beyond. It can also become practical for the average homeowner, family, or renter through Internet of Things (IoT) technology that’s giving them control of and information about their property that they can use to their advantage.
This can be done by starting simply with a smart home system, which can comprise several devices: door/window sensors, smart light bulbs, smart thermostat, or water, temperature, and motion sensors. Depending on the manufacturer, a hub may be required, and users may also opt for a smart assistant like Google Home or Amazon Alexa for voice control. Commonly, these systems start small with 2 to 5 devices, and can grow to suit the home to benefit users in a few ways. In a survey, PC Mag found that the top four smart home device purchase reasons were for convenience, energy efficiency, home security, and cost effectiveness.
Many homeowners get their first taste of a smart home from a voice assistant as a fun and easy way to play music, get information about the weather and other fun facts, plus benefit from a bunch of cool experiences, even ordering Pizza Hut from a command. Aside from the novelty it can provide, a smart home system of smart light bulbs, sensors, and a thermostat can make managing a home more convenient. Remote, in-app, or voice control of key devices like lights, locks, and thermostats enables management from the office, on the road, or on the way home. With a system in place, parents can get notifications to see when kids open the door as they arrive home from school, making sure it gets closed, or check that the garage door is shut at night before they go to bed. Automated lighting schedules can also brighten the house as the sun goes down, so families don’t come home to a dark house.
According to recent data from Parks Associates, cost savings is a key driver for smart home device adoption: “The prospect of saving money, either through reduced household bills or a discount on insurance premiums, raises the interest in smart home devices among 60 percent of the U.S. broadband households that do not own and do not intend to purchase a smart home device.” In line with the schedules set to coincide with their lifestyle, a smart thermostat can automate the HVAC system to save energy by keeping it low during the day while the house is empty, and kicking it up ahead of the family arriving home at night. Over time, they can see whether their automation schedule is saving them money, and adjust it to do so depending on the season. Smart lights can also help to reduce energy usage in a similar way; homeowners can set a schedule to keep lights off based on their schedule or how natural light moves through the house. They could also coordinate it with a motion sensor to activate only when someone enters the room.
Property Protection and Insurance Savings
Smart home devices can also help secure the property while the family is away. Sensors can provide live updates about the conditions of their home, whether a door or window opens, when a room gets too hot or too cold, or when water is detected in the basement. This data can be actionable for users, providing peace of mind as they know their house is safe, or the opportunity to step in to check out potential security issues or home damage. While on vacation, unusual activity can be monitored, so if a window opens a friend or family member could go to scope it out, or check in when water is detected under the kitchen sink. The sensors that provide data about conditions like water presence or temperature conditions of the property allow the family to intervene, using a smart thermostat to adjust the temperature before a room gets too cold (risking pipes bursting) or inspecting a potential water leak sooner rather than later when greater damage has happened.
Data from smart home devices can facilitate proactive home management which can, in turn, reduce common reasons for damage and claims for water damage or even fire. When water is detected in the basement or under the sink, user intervention can stop a leak before it spreads or further damages the home, preventing aggravation and the costs of a claim. Insurers are beginning to recognize these benefits and starting to offer programs to support those using data from smart home devices to manage and protect their property.