Home Smart Home Today’s connected tech takes security and convenience to new heights
Let’s face it. The Jetsons had the coolest house ever. It was fully automated, from the kitchen gadget that produced food at the push of a button to the car wash-style shower to the vacuuming robot. It was the epitome of convenience and the envy of every viewer. And now, it’s practically a reality. In fact, some of today’s smart home technology actually surpasses what we saw in that beloved 1960s cartoon. What’s even more impressive is that the tech is not only readily available, but also being included in plans by some of today’s most renowned homebuilders.
“We feel like [smart home technology] will be the new normal in housing, providing security, convenience and peace of mind in our hectic schedules,” says Judie Woodall, managing member of Strategic Real Estate Advisors, LLC, which works with such metro Atlanta communities as Lake Arrowhead and master planned community developers like Majestic Lifestyle Builders. That’s why many state-of-the-art products have become standard features in new homes being built throughout the metro area. For instance, the Nest Learning Thermostat, which automatically programs itself to adjust your home’s temperature based on your family’s daily living habits and can be controlled from any smartphone or tablet, is one of the most popular options today in Lake Arrowhead and communities developed by Majestic Lifestyle Builders. Also at the top of the list are smart security and monitoring systems with video cameras and automatic lighting, among other features. According to Woodall, “We are moving to an overall smart house offering for 2018, as the demand continues to increase for this [type of] product, and we want to be able to provide our buyers with what they are looking for in all price points.”
Meritage Homes also has become a leader in the smart home arena, developing the M.Connected Home™ Automation Suite, which now comes standard in its new homes. The package includes a video doorbell, smart door lock, lighting controls, weather-sensing irrigation, smart garage door and an advanced programmable thermostat—all of which can be controlled from a smartphone or other mobile device. The company has partnered with preeminent providers to give homeowners access to these cutting-edge products, including Ring (doorbell), Kevo (smart door lock) and LiftMaster (garage door), among others. The result is an inventory of homes that are ahead of the curve and bring residents an entirely new level of comfort and convenience, as well as the knowledge that their houses are as energy efficient and secure as possible.
“It’s an exciting time. We’re seeing more products in the marketplace and more interest than ever before,” observes Dennis Mathew, vice president, Wholesale & Xfinity Home Product Management, for Comcast. “And we’re seeing choice in some of the top categories—video cameras, lighting, thermostats, door locks and doorbells. We’re also seeing more focus in terms of the customer experience and making it more simple to use than in the past.”
Xfinity, known for its internet, television and mobile services, is making its own mark in the housing market with Xfinity Home, a total home security and home automation solution. The company’s service offerings include 24/7 professional monitoring, remote security arming and disarming, real-time text and e-mail alerts, round-the-clock video recording, live video monitoring, lighting and thermostat control and smoke and water leak detection. Compatible smart home devices can be integrated through Works with Xfinity, a partner program that brings everything onto one platform for total convenience, allowing homeowners to be connected to their homes via Xfinity’s mobile app, an online portal, an in-home touchscreen controller or on their televisions with Xfinity X1 (which manages everything through a voice recognition-based remote). “Instead of having to use 15 different apps [to control everything], we wanted to bring everything together seamlessly on one platform,” Mathew says. “We want to solve real customer challenges and issues and bring together products with the customer lens in mind.”
In addition to partnering with the companies that have created the best smart home products on the market, Comcast’s Xfinity is now also fostering relationships with builders nationwide to help them create the most robust smart homes possible. The company is running pilot programs and finding ways to bring Xfinity to the earliest stages of the homebuilding process. As that effort develops, the company will continue to offer installation and support of products currently on the market that work with Xfinity Home.
“Solutions like a connected security system service allow you to have peace of mind that your loved ones and home are protected and safe. [Smart home products] also offer convenience, allowing you to automate simple routines and different elements of your home,” Mathew asserts. “For us, the customer is at the center of everything.”
While the smart home industry has moved forward by leaps and bounds in recent years, there’s still so much coming down the pipeline. Both homebuilders and smart home product developers understand what homeowners want, and they are striving to deliver the most exceptional options possible. So don’t hesitate to include today’s most coveted tech on your list of must-haves for your home search. There’s a good chance it’s already there waiting for you.