We are thrilled about the new collaboration between our Designhounds Influencer Network and Control 4 Connects: The 5 Levels of Smart Home. Presentations are held in key markets around the country and our Chicago based Designhound Interior Designer and Realtor Jennifer Hyman attended the event and shared a few key insights that applied to her and her brand. Take a look below.
Control4 Connects Chicago by Jennifer Hyman
I feel the need to begin by saying I’m 50 years old and because I can’t figure out how to the turn on the TV my husband bought me for my birthday, I watch my shows on the iPad.
I love technology! I love all things bright, shiny, and new – designed to make my life easier and better. What I don’t love is having a drawer full of gadgets and remotes to manage the technology. I’m an interior designer and a realtor so my professional life is full-time helping people live beautiful, functional lives.
So, when I learned Connect4 was hosting a presentation I had to go. I wanted to learn how I can manage my house from the comfort of my cell phone. Would it be possible for my clients to do themselves? Was there an option for my “clients who have everything” to dream even bigger dreams of what technology solutions could provide? They did not disappoint.
So, what I learned is that there are 5 levels of smart home technology nirvana:
- The traditional home
- Piecemeal automation
- Limited integration
- Full integration
- Predictive/proactive automation
Most of us start out at the first level in our traditional home where our smart home technology integration is at the basic level. For a lot of homeowners at this level the introduction to smart products begins with entertainment, and very little is hardwired into the home. One remote to control all of your entertainment devices and maybe speakers located throughout the room or home.
When our need to automate and budget are not quite synced up, we’re at a level 2 which is piecemeal automation. The homeowner can still manage a DIY installation at this point. At this level you’re bringing in a smart thermostat or a home security system both of which can be managed with an app on your smart phone.
By the time we’ve hit level 3, which is limited integration, we’re getting more joy from the technology in our homes. Now that you’ve mastered using an app on your phone, let’s progress to managing the lighting and even small appliances in your home. Turn on the stove during your commute home and turn on the lights as you enter the garage so once you cross the threshold the workday is a distant memory and dinner is foremost on your mind.
Not long after, we reach full integration and that is when we find ourselves spending less time thinking about the technology in our homes and simply living our lives. We’re becoming better acquainted with all of the smart products available to us and now we’re interested in creating a smart home. You could have a refrigerator that senses when it’s time to buy groceries and sends you a list. Or the dishwasher or washer and dryer recognize when energy cost is at its lowest during the day and then switch on to run themselves.
Finally, what I aspire to is level 5 – predictive/proactive automation. I want to walk into the bathroom and have the shower turn on to the water temp and pressure that I like best just by sensing that I’ve crossed the threshold. I want a meal planning app that reads what produce and products I have in the pantry and creates a recipe for me using expiration dates and custom calorie counters. The possibilities of what smart home technology can do for you are endless!
So as interior designers or realtors how do we help our clients with what smart products and smart homes can do for them. How do we use this knowledge to stand out and distinguish ourselves as leaders in the marketplace? The industry predicts there will be 12.86 billion smart home devices by 2020. I think the key is having the client experience simple to use and inexpensive smart product in their home as a part of our basic services. At the beginning of my interior design career I designed every home with LED lighting, there wasn’t a choice to use anything else. Now I can see designing and selling homes that begin with smart energy or smart security systems as a part of the services I provide.