Association Report, CEA: Smart Living
In mid-May, my wife and I moved into a new house we built. During the planning process, I had an epiphany. Owning a home is not only a great investment, it is increasingly an important technology purchase. Now homes can be customized with great design, the intelligence to save energy, and the ability to deliver music and lighting features seamlessly across different living spaces.
That’s why I join so many in the consumer electronics industry in the excitement about the developments in connected living.
Recently, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and HGTV partnered to build the first-ever high-tech smart home using CEA’s TechHome Rating System (THRS), which lays out the technological infrastructure that needs to be installed in a home in order to fulfill a consumer’s digital wish list.
While I will save for another day the details on my family’s sojourn into home technology—suffice to say we have some cool stuff—I will tell you about an amazing beach house.
HGTV’s house planner, Jack Thomasson, designed a charming shingle-style cottage home nestled in the beach community of Paradise Key South Beach in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. This home has all of the bells and whistles to inspire us to tear down our walls and install the structured wiring needed to create a connected household.
The HGTV Smart Home 2013 connects many of the home’s appliances and devices. It allows homeowners to monitor energy use and control home systems such as security, interior climate, lighting and other electronics. Just look at some of the things this intelligent home can do:
Outdoor: Pool automation controls lighting, temperature and fountains from a tablet. Exterior awnings can be opened or closed remotely on demand, but they also include sensors that automatically close the awning to protect against rain and wind.
Garage: Door notification sends an alert to a smart phone when a door is left open, and door locks can be controlled remotely.
Kitchen: The cooktop has induction technology and the faucet has on and off water sensors.
Bathrooms: Toilets include sensor-controlled seats that open and close, built-in seat warmers, and hands-free flush mechanisms. The showers can be turned on remotely and programmed to pre-set temperatures for each family member.
Living Room: Shades can be raised or lowered remotely.
The HGTV Smart Home 2013 exemplifies what a connected home should be: responsive and responsible to a homeowner’s needs.
More people are gravitating toward installing home technologies because they appreciate the security, efficiency and convenience a smart home brings.
A survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 51 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that, by 2020, the connected household “will become a model of efficiency, as people are able to manage consumption of resources (electricity, water, food and even bandwidth) in ways that place less of a burden on the environment while saving households money.”
The CE industry is integral to this home design vision. CEA’s 11th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study shows technology installations in new homes reached or exceeded 2008 levels, which means that built-in home technologies are increasingly becoming a sought-after market.
In the last two years, the most common technology installed was structured wiring, followed by monitored security and home theaters.
In fact, with nearly 92 percent of new homes having broadband connection, up 36 percent from 2002, more home theaters will be built into homes. The builder study notes that one in four newly built homes in 2012 has a dedicated home theater room as opposed to one in ten in 2010.
It is obvious we are trending toward The Jetsons image, where every appliance, light bulb, speaker and home monitoring system can be controlled wirelessly. As the consumer awareness about smart living benefits grow and the costs lowers, there will be no limits to what the home of the future can do.
Who knows, we might surpass the The Jetsons, and the CE industry might revolutionize the concept of smart living altogether.