Smart devices have really taken off over the last couple of years and this is going to be a huge year for them in real estate. At CRT, we are focused on where these are going but we’re not alone at NAR. Our colleagues at REALTOR® Magazine covered some of the Smart Home offerings at CES.
For the past year, I’ve been referring to the integration of connected smart devices as ‘The Iterative Smart Home’. The “Smart” component means that you are able to build the system you want at your own pace. In development and programming, this process of adding pieces as you go is called iteration. Buying devices in this way allows for a few advantages:
- As the market grows for a type of device, you have choices regarding which type of devices to integrate.
- You can decide what parts of automation are important to you (e.g. thermostat vs. motion sensor vs. light controls).
- You can approach an integration system by what services and devices it supports.
Why this Matter to Members
This year is going to be all about connected devices and the sooner you become familiar with these devices, the better. Here are some reasons why this matters:
- Familiarity with these devices will benefit you as a member when talking to buyers and sellers about quick and easy upgrades.
- Younger buyers are familiar with these technologies, and having knowledge of these products will help you connect.
- It could change the way you do stagings and lighting.
In Greg’s post about the nest thermostat what becomes evident is the convenience of monitoring your home’s heating and cooling efficiency. This $249 device will pay for itself within a year. It’s also much cheaper than replacing all the windows or adding insulation. With Google acquiring nest, we are about to see this area of home automation grow.
What an Iterative Smart Home Could Look Like
First, I want to be clear that I am not endorsing any particular company. These are some examples of what is currently available in the marketplace. If you are a member and have worked with any of these services, let me know your thoughts…we may post them here.
Here are some companies doing the integrations with their own products and existing products (in no particular order):
- SmartThings – Hub is $99
- Ninja Blocks – Kit is $199
- Revolv – $299
- Staples Connect – Connect Hub is $99
A Not Too Geeky High-Level Overview of How this Works
To start, all Internet of Things devices need a common way to communicate. The premise for the hubs is that, rather than having to go to an app for your thermostat, an app for your lights and an app for your smart lock, you have one place to tap on your phone to control all of these systems. Think of these hubs as a Rosetta Stone for smart devices. They are familiar with several common communications protocols and work to help them all communicate more effectively. Some of them use wi-fi while others use low frequency communication protocols like Zigbee or bluetooth.
Once you have a common hub, integrations become simpler. For example, it allows you to do things like:
- Raise the lights and start the coffee machine with the touch to your Jawbone Up or Fitbit Force.
- Walk into a room with your iOS or Android device and automatically change the temperature and lower the volume on your stereo.
- Know when laundry is done with a flash or color change of your lights.
- Unlock your home and turn on the lights when you get home at night.
- Have the theme from Rocky play when you enter the room.
Okay, so maybe the Rocky example really isn’t that useful except to your ego. I think the other examples highlight the utility of these services and devices. Using these systems lets you as the homeowner take control of the items that matter to you. As you help clients move to the Iterative Smart Home, know you have some options. Know also that we are on this journey with you and will be covering more of these devices and services as we go forward.