Home automation isn’t new to this world: As early as the 1960s, The Jetsons showed us a world with flying cars and robot vacuums; in the early 2000s, Diagnosis Murder solved a case featuring death by digital home; and Millennials will certainly remember the Disney Channel original movie Smart House, in which the computerized home takes on a life of its own, and the (unwelcome) role of surrogate mother to the family living inside.
It’s not a new concept, but home automation (or domotics, if you want to get technical) is constantly changing. Five years ago, I would have laughed if you’d told me I’d have smart lightbulbs and a Google Home in every room—but today, I find myself mindlessly uttering, “Okay, Google,” even when there’s no smart assistant around.
I’m not alone: By the end of 2019, nearly 30 million smart home products will be sold—a 23% increase from 2018. Zion Market Research estimates the global smart home tech market will reach nearly $54 billion by 2022. Consumer interest in creating fully integrated smart homes is not going anywhere.
No matter your customer base, they’re interested in smart home technology. “Home is Where the Smart Is,” 2019 study from home security provider ADT, found that nearly two-thirds of home buyers would pay a premium for smart home tech. What kinds of tech are they looking for? According to ADT, homeowners want technology that adds convenience, comfort, and security, along with tracking capabilities.
Remodelers need to keep up with all the trends, including the tech that homeowners want in their homes. Based on our research and interviews with the experts, here’s what to keep an eye out for in smart home tech in 2020 and beyond, as well as how remodelers can use these trends to their advantage.
Look out for true wireless charging to overtake the phone-on-pad method. Companies like Wi-Charge are partnering with various manufacturers to bring long-range wireless charging to all smart tech in a home. “Users want all the tech in their home to gel,” says Jez Hildred, of Amplified Lifestyles, a smart home tech services & design company in California. “They don’t want a mashup of varying technology that may or may not work well together.”
With the increasing prevalence of devices like the Coway Airmega 400s, it’s easy for homeowners to monitor indoor air quality (IAQ). Remodelers can up their credibility by learning how their work can affect IAQ, and how to prevent particularly harmful situations, like excessive dust and VOCs, and asbestos and lead exposure.
Voice-controlled smart tech is getting increasingly advanced, particularly in the bathroom. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, Kohler featured a line of smart mirrors with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant capabilities, along with its latest smart toilet, the Numi 2.0, equipped with Kohler Konnect and embedded Amazon Alexa. (No need for homeowners to be without their digital assistants, even in the most private room of the home.)
Homeowners want tech that’s “invisible and reliable,” says Hildred. Systems like WattUp fulfill that need, providing both contact-based and over-the-air wireless charging in homes. While homeowners can install these on their own, installation can be complicated. Who better to help than your company’s handyman division?
Cross-brand compatibility is expected to increase, as users need systems from varying manufacturers to work well together in one space. But earlier in 2019, Google moved to dismantle a set of controls that allows other manufacturers to integrate with its Nest brand—pointing instead to a lower likelihood of brands playing nicely together.
Artificial intelligence is primed to grow in use in the residential market. With over 100 million subscribers in the U.S., Amazon partnered with connected garage door opener manufacturer, myQ, to create Key by Amazon, providing the option of secure, in-garage delivery. The camera adds additional home monitoring as well.