Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 5, 2016

Smart homes forecast continued growth

Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Terry Greene

Last year, an estimated 26.8 million U.S. households – or 21 percent of homes – harnessed smart home technology for advanced security, entertainment, and efficiency.

A smart home is one where a number of automated appliances and systems communicate through a centralized platform that can be remotely managed via the Internet. Once considered a luxury only for techies and the ultra wealthy, smart home technology has matured into an accessible and sustainable industry with record growth in the last few years.

Despite reports that smart homes are struggling to make the leap from those loyal early adopters to the mass market, projections show 50 percent of North Americans intend to buy at least one smart home device in the next year. Adults aged 25-34 are most likely to purchase smart systems, while younger millennials will probably be the next wave of adopters as they grow into home ownership age. The elderly and those who care for them are also projected adopters, due to the safety benefits of home health monitoring devices.

Home security ranks highest for most desired technology, with remote door locks, security cameras, and automatic outdoor lighting taking three of the five top spots. Here in the South, the self-adjusting thermostat also ranks high, with newer versions automatically adjusting based on your proximity to the house.

While clearly on the rise, there are some lingering barriers to smart home adoption that experts believe must be overcome in order to fully develop the field. Earlier networks can be clunky due to a “patchwork” of myriad systems trying to communicate without a centralized language. Newer and better software versions will overcome this obstacle and satisfactorily marry the various systems. Also needing action is the simplification of systems for the average consumer. If you’re not quite ready for your trashcan to automatically order new groceries based on what you toss into it, you’re not alone. Consumers report ease of use as vastly more important than latest technology or “cool factor.”

For more information on Smart Home Technology, contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624.9992 or info@HBAGC.net.