Smart Home: Sci-Fi Fantasy or Your New Reality?

You have your smartphone, your smartwatch, even your smart thermostat. But what’s a smart home? Less than twenty years ago, a smart house was a sci-fi fantasy depicted in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House. Nowadays, a smart home is no longer a fantasy, but a realistic possibility for many homeowners.

In Smart House, the technology powering a fully automated home becomes sentient and starts to take control. Today’s smart home technology isn’t quite that powerful, but it can “learn” your habits and moderate home settings like lighting and temperature accordingly.

Many homeowners have some form of smart home technology installed in their house, whether that’s a smart thermostat like Nest, remote control of lighting and security systems, or a smart refrigerator that lets you look at the contents of your fridge while you’re at the grocery store. But how do you know when you’ve crossed the line from living in a home that has a few smart home products installed in it to living in an actual, bona fide smart home?

Smart Home Definition

Real estate company Coldwell Banker partnered with CNET, a technology news and review website, to provide that answer.

This is what they came up with:

A home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.

The home must have a smart security feature or a smart temperature feature in addition to a reliable internet connection. It then must include at least two features from a list of smart options, including appliances, entertainment, lighting, outdoor sensors, and safety detectors.

Identifying clear criteria for what qualifies as a smart home will help realtors assess and market homes accordingly. The “smart home” moniker is a strong selling point for today’s buyers, but without a clear definition, sellers can get away with stretching the truth. One smart home product does not a smart home make.

With a clear definition of the term “smart home,” realtors can more precisely communicate the features of a home and buyers can more efficiently search for the features they seek. Smart home products that integrate with personal devices and include environmentally friendly features are becoming increasingly important to buyers, so homeowners take note.

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