Connected home devices are steadily becoming staples within American households. These gadgets, appliances and other equipment utilize 'smart' technology to communicate with each other and manage specific tasks via mobile phones, tablets and computers. Newer and ever-more advanced products hit the marketplace annually, transforming the everyday lives of all who use them.
In fact, according to recent analysis by global market research institute GfK (Growth from Knowledge), approximately 58 percent of U.S. consumers believe smart home technology will have a profound impact on their lives in the years to come.
For more than a quarter of U.S. consumers, this has already happened—27 percent “have more than three Smart Home devices, and another 7% own two or three,” it states. A March 2018 announcement adds: “Overall, half of all people GfK surveyed have at least one Smart Home technology—with Millennials (25-to-34 years of age) ownership almost reaching two-thirds (64%).”
There are numerous connected devices that fall under the “smart home” category.
HERE ARE JUST SEVEN CONNECTED HOME DEVICES BENEFICIAL FOR CONSUMERS:
1. Security Systems
Security systems have been utilized by consumers across the globe for decades. Keeping thieves and burglars at bay, security systems help make residential and commercial buildings safer. However, the development of smart home systems has changed the way many people look at standard security systems, as the traditional models fall short, comparatively.
For example, a security system developed 10 years ago enables users to both create an alarm code that notifies the appropriate authorities if ever set off, and install cameras on the property that can be reviewed at home. A smart security system alerts first responders, as well as the homeowner, via text or message if the alarm or motion sensors are activated. It also includes remote video monitoring, which enables users to view real-time footage of their home from their smartphone or tablet.
These updated features keep homeowners informed about the current happenings in and around their homes.
2. Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fires and carbon monoxide are additional threats to homes people should be aware of.
In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares on its official website that there were “393 deaths resulting from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning” in the United States in 2015 alone—the most recent statistics available. This made the total number of deaths from 2010 to 2015 reach the sobering toll of 2,244.
Furthermore, the U.S. Fire Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, reports there were approximately 7,000 fires in residential buildings that resulted in injuries in 2016—also the most recent statistics available. About 1,800 were fatal.
Consequently, installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with smart features could help lower a person’s risk of suffering an injury or even losing his or her life due to a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. These devices operate similarly to smart security systems, keeping users continuously connected to their homes via their smartphones or other electronic devices.
One of the advantages of a smart thermostat is its ability to adjust the temperature of a home to the inhabitant’s personal preferences and the weather. This not only ensures constant comfort, but also energy efficiency. Rather than manually scheduling when the temperature will change, a smart thermostat can access local weather reports to determine what it should be. This is especially beneficial during unpredictable times of the year, when the seasons change and the weather is inconsistent. It consequently also helps people save money on their energy bills.
Smart thermostats are often connectable to a user’s security system, making it easier to manage and control both systems, from anywhere.
4. Light Switches
Gone are the days of worrying about whether they remembered to turn off all the lights before they left the house. Similar to smart thermostats, smart light switches and dimmers can help users save money on their energy bills, thanks to remote monitoring.
Typically, these connected home products come with downloadable applications that help users ensure they turned off their bedroom lights prior to going to work or traveling on vacation, for example. They can even utilize this technology to turn on the lights if they know they’re working late at the office and don’t want to return to a dark house. Some smart light switches even enable users to create customized lighting schedules, and/or include motion sensors, to adjust the lights when someone enters or exits a room.
Smart sprinklers, such as the Rachio sprinkler, elevate traditional lawn care to the next level. All someone would need to do is download the device’s compatible app to virtually control the system. Unlike standard sprinklers, smart sprinklers constantly re-evaluate their watering schedule according to real-time weather reports in the area.
This device also recognizes that every part of a property is different, and thus, requires varying degrees of attention. For instance, if there are a several areas on a piece of property that are always in the shade, a smart sprinkler can adjust accordingly and differentiate treatment from that for those receiving more sunlight. It even takes into account soil type, to further ensure the property is properly maintained.
As discussed in a February 2018 press release published by MarketWatch, a financial information website of Dow Jones & Co., there is increased interest in smart kitchen appliances, including refrigerators.
“These appliances provide safety, convenience, increase productivity, low power consumption, and reduction in waste," it states. "Smart kitchen appliances offer timely alerts to a problems [sic], and run on remote access, which make it easier for consumers to operate them from any location, which are other major factors anticipated to contribute growth to this market."
Smart refrigerators help users search for new recipes, walking them through each step, and can also be programmed to add food items to a digital grocery list accessible via smartphones and tablets. This way, they’ll never forget to include something, or bring said list to the store.
Technology industry news source TechCrunch reports that 39 million Americans—one in six people, which equates to 16 percent of the country’s population—own a smart speaker, as of January 2018. This is significantly higher—128 percent—compared to statistics from the prior year.
Referring to research conducted by NPR and Edison Research, TechCrunch notes that the majority of smart speaker owners possess an Amazon Echo. This particular connected home device doesn’t simply play music. It can actually integrate with other smart products through the internet, acting as an automation hub that makes managing the entire household easier than ever before.