Smart Homes Are Getting Smarter

Smart Homes Are Getting Smarter

If your kids’ report cards don’t give you bragging rights with your friends and family, your “smart” home can. Homeowners, builders, and developers are incorporating increasing technology in new and existing homes and apartments. How smart is your home and what can you do to make it smarter? Here’s a look at what makes a home smart and some new product innovations aimed at making them smarter and more connected. 


Smart Home Basics

Investopedia defines a smart home as a “setup where internet-enabled appliances and devices can be automatically controlled remotely using a networked device.” Devices like a cell phone or smart speaker (Amazon Echo, Google Nest, and Apple HomePod, for example) are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi and allow the user to control:

  • Thermostats
  • Door locks
  • Security alarms and cameras
  • Small home appliances
  • Lights
  • Music
  • Window coverings
  • Electrical plugs
  • and more

Smart or connected devices, called the Internet of Things (IoT), are aimed at making homes more convenient, comfortable, and secure – at least until the Wi-Fi connection is lost. Smart devices have come a long way since the basic remote garage door opener and remote keyless entry devices which operate via radio frequency signals. Many homes today have at least a few smart devices like plugs, wireless cameras, doorbell cameras, and smart speakers. New builds are incorporating more updated features like smartphone-controlled door locks, thermostats, and window treatments. 


The Latest from Vegas


The 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, held last month in Las Vegas, offered a glimpse of products that will make a smart home move to the top of its class – beginning with the humble mirror. While your mirror may not make you look better, the Sound Mirror can entertain you with an Alexa smart speaker that enables it to stream music and connect to other smart home gadgets. According to REALTOR® Magazine, the “Sound Mirror features a speaker built into its display, and can be hung in the bathroom, living room, or anywhere else inside a home.”  The mirror was named a 2022 CES Innovation Award winner.

Innovations in kitchen and bath faucets are always popular and a new handle-free line was featured at this year’s show. A wave of your hand allows you to turn faucets on and off and regulate temperature with Moen’s MotionSense Wave technology. There’s even an app for setting preferences for each faucet including preset measurements for your coffee carafe. If that’s not high-tech enough, you can use your smart speaker to control faucets and preferences as well.

Lighting has long been the focus of technology upgrades. New bulbs shown at CES can link to smart speakers and incorporate cameras and health monitors capable of analyzing sleep and even detecting falls.

For nearly a decade, smart locks have allowed homeowners and renters to use keypads and Bluetooth-enabled devices for home and office entry. But new technology utilizes fingerprints and video doorbells to control access. Homeowners and landlords can use the latest technology to share one-use codes, time-period specific codes, and individual codes to open locks. 

Smart televisions are another smart home staple. A new video device featured at the CES can mirror a tv screen onto any flat surface and display artwork or even a window where one doesn’t exist. Samsung’s The Freestyle is a lightweight portable projector that can project high-def images, respond to voice commands, and serve as a smart speaker. 


The Robot Revolution


Remember Rosie, the robot maid, from The Jetsons? It was futuristic in the 1960s, but home maintenance robots and high-tech cleaning devices are no longer cartoons and sci-fi creatures. Robot vacuums have swept homes for more than 20 years and significant advancements make them appealing. Many can be linked to an app or smart speaker to create cleaning schedules and map out rooms including objects to avoid and types of flooring. Likewise, robotic mops use cameras and sensors to detect surfaces that require liquid cleaning solutions. A new cordless vacuum from Dyson uses a laser and sensors to reveal and remove the smallest particles of dust and dirt.           

Robots can take on outside chores, too. Pool cleaning robots, in widespread use since the 1970s, can now be controlled by smartphones. But all your other least-favorite outside chores can also now be automated. From lawn mowing and weeding to cleaning gutters, windows, and barbecue grill grates, there’s a robot for that.

For more home innovations from the CES, visit REALTOR® Magazine.