A smart, thinking home may have sounded like something from the far future just a couple of decades ago, but it’s part of today’s reality. Smart technology is integrated into a variety of household items, including appliances, security systems, and thermostats.

A smarter home is a more energy-efficient one – if your home has an internet connection, it’s now possible for you to remotely control and monitor what’s going on inside your walls, even if you’re at work or on a trip. You can set your thermostats to run at a certain temperature and schedule them to shut off when no one’s home. Lights can be turned off from a distance if your kids tend to leave them on. Here’s a look at where smart home technology is currently at – and where it’s going.

The Energy-Efficient Home

Artificial intelligence is likely to become the main component driving home tech. One of the main applications of AI is energy needs reduction. On a consumer level, the advancement can be integrated into smart home devices and appliances to anticipate a homeowner’s needs and assist with energy-savings. Most devices now need to be programmed or set up. It’s likely that future AI integration will make more accurate assumptions on how a home’s energy use may be reduced and how a homeowner can save.

Google’s Nest Thermostat is a great example. The original versions could be programmed and scheduled to keep your home’s temperature at a certain level throughout the day or night. The smart thermostat came with a free app that linked your mobile phone with your home’s HVAC system. You could adjust the temperature, or turn on the air conditioning unit to cool the home just a few minutes before you were scheduled to arrive home. The thermostat would reduce your home’s energy consumption, saving you money on your utility bill, while reducing your contribution to carbon emissions. According to Nest, studies found that the thermostat “saved 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling.”

The latest-generation Nest Learning Thermostat takes it one step further – it programs itself based on your habits and preferences to keep your home at the ideal temperature. It even creates a schedule based on your activities, so you can review how your home system will run. As smart home devices improve in the future, homes will not only be more technologically advanced, but they’ll also create less energy waste. The savings will reduce people’s impact on the environment.

Smart Home Technology for the Future: Nest learning thermostat
Smart Home Technology for the Future: Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself based on your habits and preferences to keep your home at the ideal temperature.

Smart Tech Upgrades Are Good for Your Home’s Value

As mentioned, a smarter home is a more energy-efficient one. For sustainably-minded individuals, that’s enough reason to invest in smart technology. But there’s also a future monetary reward – MarketPro Homebuyers says “many home buyers are beginning to expect smart home features, so installing them can be a simple way to add value to your house.”

A smart home may become one of the most sought-after features by homebuyers in the future. Making upgrades now can bring you savings and convenience for the time you remain in your home – and potentially increase your property value when you’re ready to sell.

You already learned about how a smart thermostat can reduce your energy consumption. If you’re wondering about what other types of smart home improvements and upgrades you can make to add value, consider the following:

Smart Security System

Smart security systems use your home internet connection and a series of cameras and sensors to monitor your home. It’s easy to set the system up because it’s wireless, requiring minimal installation. It’s usually controlled from a central unit, which often doubles as a keypad. You can program the system to send you phone notifications if a section of your home’s system is triggered.

Most smart security systems also provide real-time monitoring, streaming video footage you can tune into from your phone or tablet. Besides the cameras, many systems can be integrated with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to monitor your home’s air quality or alert you if your home is at risk of fire.

Smart Plugs

There are wall plugs available that use your home network to communicate through a smartphone app with you. Any items plugged into the smart plug can be controlled remotely and scheduled.

This could come in handy if you’re traveling out of town and would like to set a television or lamp to randomly switch on or off to appear as if you’re home. Smart plugs can help reduce your energy consumption by turning lights or device charges off when they’re not in use. Future iterations of the current smart plug may include wall switches that are already integrated into the home’s electrical wiring.

The Future of Smart Home Technology

Most of the smart home tech available now consists of modular units that need to be installed. But as the technology is readily accepted and demanded by future renters and homebuyers, it’s likely that builders will integrate smart tech and connectivity into the home’s structure, requiring fewer devices.

Maggie Potter

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