• Smart Home Technology
  • The Smart Home
  • Connected Devices
  • Digital Transformation

Smart Homes Have Become an Expected Standard

Neil Strother
Mar 27, 2019

Smart Home

Smart home technology is now standard in new residential construction. This is according to executives from leading US home builders such as Meritage Homes, Lennar, and Pulte, among others. This news might not come as a surprise for close watchers of the smart home trend.

Smart Home Tech Adoption Moving Fast

The speed at which this trend has taken hold is something remarkable. In less than 5 years, since around the time of the introduction of Amazon’s Echo device, adoption of smart home technologies has skyrocketed. According to Consumer Technology Association (CTA), nearly one in four US households now owns a smart speaker. Of those households that have a voice-activated smart speaker, 40% have more than one connected device in the home according to a Nielsen study; from an energy perspective, two of the top-five connected device categories are lighting and thermostats (17% each).

“Just as appliances, paint colors, countertops, and flooring have always been key decisions in the home design process, smart home technology is now becoming an equal consideration by designers and homeowners alike,” says Brad Hintze, senior director of product marketing at home automation company Control4. In other words, the market for smart home technology is maturing. It is no longer a novelty for newly-constructed homes and is now common for retrofit projects.

Subtle Maturation Indicators

There are other signs of maturation in the smart home market that fly below most people’s radar. For example, electrical wiring giant Leviton has launched a new Wi-Fi-enabled breaker panel that promises to bring the electrical panel into the 21st century. Called Load Center, the new box features a built-in hub that connects circuit breakers to a home’s router. A homeowner using the My Leviton mobile app for Android or iOS devices can then turn breakers off right from a smartphone. The My Leviton app also tracks energy usage and predicts energy bills.

Innovation in Europe

Not all the innovation is in the US. In Switzerland, a new sustainable home has been unveiled by its creators who claim the structure is the world’s first inhabited digital house. The DFAB HOUSE was built using some unique methods, including robots and 3D printing, and it features smart home technology inside.

In the UK, the government has introduced a Future Homes Standard (FHS) that calls for the end of all fossil-fuel heating systems in new homes by 2025, which means new homes will have to be much more efficient in terms of energy use. In this same vein, energy giant Centrica is creating homes fit for the future by promoting a combination of solar panels, battery storage, and combined heat and power in a trial in Cornwall.

The Market Still Has Obstacles to Overcome

While we have reached a new level of smart home technology adoption and expectations it is worth noting there are still gaps. For homeowners or renters in existing structures, installing smart devices can still be a challenge and often requires a professional. People also have nagging concerns about data breaches and privacy related to smart home devices. The smart appliance market still lacks real traction; however, smart home technology is available and improving. Stakeholders need to keep the focus on closing the remaining gaps.