Home automation has been around for years, but it has crossed over to mainstream consumerism in the past few years. Technological advances, along with the spotlight of the annual CES show, have helped smart home products gain popularity, and now everyone from Baby boomers to Gen Z are getting in on the trend.
More and more big brands are offering connectivity for more and more big appliances, and consumers are being offered several ways to control these products. So why is home automation such a hot trend? Here is my take on the four key factors that are driving the popularity of smart homes:
Trend #1: Convenience
Above all else, home automation offers something to the general population that they desperately want: convenience. As the lives of not just adults, but also children, get busier each year we’ll welcome anything that can save us time, money, and energy. From turning on lights to saving money on energy bills, convenience is a huge factor in the success of home automation.
Trend #2: Affordability
While there are some big-ticket smart home items – like refrigerators, ovens, and washers and dryers – most of them are smaller and very affordable for the general population. Video doorbells can run under $200, smart switches and plugs can be found for around $30 or $50, and digital home assistants from Amazon and Google are available for under $200.
Those items are all you need to get a pretty decent home automation set up going. Smart home products are also sold across many retailers, so it is easy to price compare for the best deal. New versions of products come out every so often, which reduces the price of earlier models – which many consumers don’t mind to own.
Trend #3: Curiosity
This is my favorite reason for smart home popularity. Just good ole fashioned curiosity. People have always been curious – it’s why we have evolved at all – and that curiosity is what drives us to be consumers.
We want to know what it is like to have new technology; we want to know how far we can push that technology; we want to know how we can use that technology. Maybe we see someone else using it, or we see an advertisement for it, or we see it displayed or demoed at a store; whatever the reason, it sparks a curiosity that demands to be satisfied.
Trend #4: Security
While the security of smart home technology and devices itself is still questionable, here is no doubt that the general idea of security is a driving factor for home automation popularity. Criminals are getting more and more tech savvy and finding ways to bypass the old approaches to home security.
People are looking for ways to increase their access to and control over their home security products. Smart home tech offers them exactly that – with 24/7 recording and live streaming access of cameras, smart doors that can be locked from anywhere and that can track all entries and exits, and doorbells that offer video and two-way communications.
And don’t you think that trend #5 is that smart home products have capitalised on our obsession with our smartphones (and tablets) but primarily our smart phones? If we weren’t totally obsessed by our phones and totally at each with using them, then I think that this whole sector would still be far more niche and “geek” like.
#5 It’s cool
It really, is. There’s something very enjoyable about walking into your home and telling the lights to turn themselves on, or the music. It feels like the future has actually arrived, all those years of watching Star Trek and here we can do some of these things in our little homes, not just on a giant spaceship.