By now, most consumers have heard of the term “smart home.” While the idea for smart homes has its roots in science fiction going back decades, the reality of a smart home is a relatively recent development. Residential alarm systems exist as the heart and central nervous system of many modern smart homes.
Perhaps you’ve seen the grainy stock footage of Disney’s Home of the Future from the Tomorrowland exhibit at Disneyland in Anaheim. In it, homeowners of tomorrow were promised a new world of futuristic conveniences, including room lighting, heating and air conditioning, and communications available at the touch of a button. Today those “advances” may seem positively quaint, but the fact is that the modern smart home as we know it today took decades to come into existence. It didn’t truly begin to manifest until the early 2000s as concepts and ideas for devices that could be connected to the internet began to show up at consumer electronics shows. Quickly dubbed the “internet of things,” these home conveniences didn’t take long to make their way from the showroom floor to retail store shelves.
Today, almost anything that has any kind of functionality in the home—from ceiling fans to thermostats and beyond—can be upgraded to a “smart” version of the same device, giving you and your family a greater level of control over the usage of the device as well as a greater level of awareness of what is going on in and around your home. Through the magic of Wi-Fi, mobile devices, and internet connectivity, your devices and appliances can communicate with you—and with one another—in a way that has never been possible before.
Of course, consumers who have lived with the convenience of smartphones and apps and Wi-Fi everywhere for the past decade have been quick to adapt to this new smart home and are buying up devices that bring that same level of convenience to their home life. According to research by IHS Markit, a London-based information research and service company, consumers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on connected home technologies. In fact, an estimated 80 million smart home devices were purchased in 2016, marking a massive 64% jump from the prior year. That number is expected to increase to 130 million or more in 2017.
A Smart Home Device for Every Imaginable Need
These days, smart home devices come in just about every size and shape that you can imagine, from lighting and light bulbs to refrigerators, irrigation systems, water heaters, smoke detectors, and lots more. All are designed to help homeowners enjoy more time and leisure at home with less effort while also conserving energy. These “smart” devices give you greater control over your home environment, and many of them can also “learn” to adjust their usage to your patterns, helping you to conserve energy while staying comfortable. In fact, Nest thermostats, August smart locks, and Ring video doorbells are among the most popular smart home devices on the market, giving you greater control over your home’s comfort and security, even when you’re not there.
But a truly smart home is more than just the sum of all its smart devices. There’s a reason why the technology that enables this kind of smart home is sometimes called the “internet of things.” The interconnectivity that powers a smart home requires management and a hub of some kind that lets you control all these new conveniences. Many manufacturers of smart home devices have apps that you can download to put control of your device right in the palm of your hand. Other technology companies are getting in on the “hub” business by creating systems that help you to control the smart technology that’s all over your home with a minimum of effort, whether that’s something like Google Home or Alexa, which help you manage all your devices, appliances, and systems through natural voice interaction, or the forthcoming Apple HomePod with Siri. According to the IHS Markit report, personal digital assistants like these are poised to become a common part of the daily life of many homeowners in the coming years.
Residential Security Systems in the Smart Home
While convenience may be the first thing that people think of when they think of a smart, connected home, a study of U.S. consumers by Xfinity showed that 64% of smart home adopters cited family security as one of their main motivations for switching to smart home devices. That only makes sense, after all, since security and residential alarm systems have been in the smart home business longer than almost anyone. From aforementioned technology like Ring video doorbells, there is a wide range of smart home security components that can make your home safer and more convenient.
Smart home components for security and residential alarm systems include connected video systems and security cameras both inside the home and out, water leakage monitoring, fire and smoke detectors, door locks, intrusion detection, carbon monoxide monitors, and more. According to the same Xfinity study, digital video cameras and video doorbells such as the Ring doorbell system are among the most popular smart home products on the market, while 62% of those surveyed expected the ability to control their home security system and video monitoring via their smartphone.
In this day and age, we expect technology to help take some of the burden off our busy lives while also helping to keep our family safe. We want to be able to see who’s at the door when we’re having dinner—or even when we’re not home. We want to keep an eye on the baby or the kids while they’re asleep or at play, turn on the lights and bump up the thermostat before we get home from work, lock all the doors at night with the touch of a button, and much more. With the help of smart home and residential alarm technology, all of this is possible. It’s not science fiction anymore, and the 1957 Home of the Future in Tomorrowland has nothing at all on the home of today.
For all the conveniences of smart home technology, however, the Xfinity survey also found that today’s homeowners still value the safety and peace of mind that comes with traditional security and residential alarm system providers, including access to 24/7 monitoring. Even when the full resources of your home are at your fingertips, it can be comforting to know that help from a real person is just a phone call away.
Want to learn more about smart home devices and how you can upgrade your home or business security system using new, smart technology? Contact A-TEC Residential and Commercial Security in Kansas City. We’ve been helping homes and businesses just like yours stay smart and safe for more than 20 years, and we’re here to help you today!