What is a Smart Home?

modern home

What is it that makes homes smart? What do people mean when they talk about smart homes?

A decade ago, the definition would have looked a lot different than it does today. Then, someone that had lights, sprinklers and a thermostat that were on a programmed timer would have considered their home smart.

Today, the definition includes more complex technology as the home automation and smart tech fields expand at a rapid place and different types of technologies converge. A clear definition must recognize that a smart home network will be made up of several different electronics that all have a different purpose: communication, security, and entertainment.

With so many different opinions on the definition of a smart home, it can be frustrating for people looking to upgrade to a smart home, either through construction or through purchasing a new home, and also for those looking to sell a home they consider smart. Coldwell Banker, the real estate company, found this to be the case, and so they now provide their realtors with the following definition:

“A home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself. The home must have a smart security feature or a smart temperature feature in addition to a reliable internet connection. It then must include at least two features from a list of smart options, including appliances, entertainment, lighting, outdoor sensors, and safety detectors.”

Older homes were not built for smart technology, so homeowners have to retrofit the smart technology. Many new homes are being built with smart technology in mind, so already include the wiring needed.

For non-real estate purposes, it is more common to define a smart home as a building (not always a home – could be a work space or business) that is equipped, either through specific wiring or through add-on equipment, with technology that allows residents or occupants convenience, comfort, security, and energy-efficiency through the ability to program, control, and/or remotely control electronic devices through a digital or voice command. The electronics that can be controlled include large appliances, lights and light switches, fans, thermostats, cameras, washers and dryers, television, and more.

It’s common for most of today’s consumers to own at least one smart product, and millennials are a group that are adapting smart technology at a rapid pace, and the generations that follow them will be generations that have never lived without this technology.

Of the key drivers of smart homes is its ability to offer money and energy saving options. This is individually rewarding, but it is also good for the planet. As more and more benefits are offered to home and business owners that find ways to reserve the limited resources of Earth, smart home technology stands out as a green solution.

How would you define what a smart home is?

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Julie is totally technology driven. She is an early adapter, getting the newest devices first and loves seeing how they work. She is the first one called when her friends need help setting up networks, new computer systems, printers and cool home automation devices. She loves being the token "dork" in her group of friends.