Smart Home Technology Crossing the Chasm

The curiosity for smart home technology has officially been piqued, and is blossoming into widespread adoption. This is due in part to the popularity of the smart speaker. There are various reasons why it has proliferated into the average home, perhaps due to the many use cases, convenience, novelty, and ease-of-use.

Smart speakers have served as an entry point in opening homeowners’ eyes to the benefits that other smart home devices can provide, and showing that the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just for the hobbyist. Last year the Consumer Technology Association showed that ownership of a smart speaker experienced almost 100 percent growth in ownership in the prior two years and are now in about one third of U.S. homes. This is a new operating system in the home and it is being pioneered by the largest forces in technology.

With thousands of IoT devices available from startups, the big names in tech, and other companies with products on Amazon and at Best Buy (which is also an ever-growing list), smart home adoption is on an upwards trajectory, because of the wide range of benefits it can provide: solutions for every home, family and person. Dongles, remotes, and speakers enhance entertainment, lights set the mood or brighten rooms automatically, and thermostats help to save energy, keep the house comfortable and make customers happy. Homeowners can mix and match the experiences that they care about and the benefits that they need. Every smart home is different; while some families might start with smart speakers, others might have a smart thermostat and add light bulbs to save energy.

Regardless of the family’s lifestyle, safety and security devices are a common thread for adoption; every home needs protection just as every home needs homeowner’s insurance. In this advance of adoption, International Data Corporation identified home monitoring and security devices as the second-largest device category that will continue growing, including moisture sensors, doorbells and locks, cameras, etc. according to its latest “Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker.” Part of the growing smart home adoption is occurring as homeowners are learning that technology can become an integral part of managing their house and help them become more proactive managing something they love. The features of a basic smart home security system comprising water, temperature, or door/window sensors, door locks, and even cameras can help a homeowner work towards lessening home damage or preventing it by acting on alerts.

Security devices may be the go-to adoption point after smart speakers because even a few can make a difference for safety and peace of mind. A security camera lets a homeowner check that the house is secure when they’re traveling, or a smart doorbell camera lets them safely answer the door remotely or deter porch pirates while they’re at work. Sensors have a broader range of benefits, and can provide context about the home’s conditions that can be used to monitor activity from doors and windows, share alerts about carbon monoxide, detect water in leaky areas, keep tabs on the temperature in each room, or listen for a potential break-in with a glass-break sensor.

These experiences can easily be added to almost any dwelling (traditional homes, apartments, or condominiums), families of all ages, and any lifestyle. In my own home, I started a smart home with a few devices and I’ve kept adding as I learned what else I could control, and our family has certainly benefited from the peace of mind and home protection. I have about 25 devices in my home with our hub. I use them to manage my home when I’m traveling, like adjusting the temperature from my Ecobee thermostat, and being able to stop water damage from my Guardian water shutoff valve once it’s detected from a sensor.

I followed what would be the traditional path for adoption, starting out with a first device that inspired me to add more and more so that I could control or keep tabs on other parts of my home. But what I realized along the way is that try as they may to make integrating all of the smart home devices available into one platform and easy for the average consumer to install is not working. It is still like trying to ask a customer to assemble a mini computer or a car or build a house - I shouldn't be doing it and neither should the average homeowner or renter. So before you embark on your own smart home odyssey, forget it and call up a trusted smart home partner that does all of the software, hardware, installation, setup and servicing combined in one place so that you can enjoy the benefits and forget the headaches.