Home Technology – Evolution Brings Simplicity

In the past, Smart Home features were a way to differentiate houses. But today, programmable thermostats, smart doorbells and door locks and lighting control are transitioning from “nice to have” to “expected.”

Smart Home technology has become a lot less overwhelming thanks to products that allow all facets of home technology – automation, entertainment, security, and more – to share a single technological platform.  Brilliant is one example of an all-in-one control that can control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Sonos, Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell, Ring, Philips Hue, and Wemo lights as well as smart plugs, and more. It all works seamlessly using voice, touch or gesture.  This type of new technology makes things simpler and less costly, while simultaneously freeing up outlets and reducing techno-clutter.  

In contrast to exposed smart doorbells, the theft-proof indoor Brinno DUO camera provides a clear image of visitors via a built-in 2.7-inch LCD screen, transforming the hard-to-see peephole into clear front head-to-shoulder images.

With single platform control now reaching a status of near perfection, next comes specialty products that address and resolve challenges that were previously standing in the way when it came to of the latest technology making it to the mainstream market.  Brinno’s DUO smart peephole camera is a great example that addresses the problem of home security options that are often difficult to install by the average homeowner, can’t be used by renters, are visibly obvious to burglars, or require a monthly fee. The DUO is designed for DIY easy installation and removal, keeping the front door intact and unaltered. It combines proprietary low power WiFi technology and reconfigures the door’s standard peephole into a discreet smart home security detection camera which is un-noticed by outside visitors.  Dual screens and dual storage (on the back of the door and/or transmitted to a smartphone via Wi-Fi) allows residents to easily see who is at their door whether they are home or away. These images are automatically saved onto an SD card locally in the device.

Front door security is a hot, hot, hot area of home technology. The fact that fingerprints are one of the aspects that makes us unique as human beings, stands to introduce some interesting possibilities in this product category. Your finger can now be the key to your smart home thanks to a strategic partnership between Crestron and ekey products GmbH, a leading provider of fingerprint access solutions.  The partnership will allow Crestron to leverage biometric processes that add security and make stolen keys, cards, and forgotten passwords or codes a thing of the past. By saving multiple fingerprints of individual users, different functions can be triggered. For example, your right index finger will become the new key for unlocking the front door and your left index finger will trigger a silent alarm when used under duress.  Intelligent software even detects the growth of childrens’ fingers, minor injuries, and habit changes. Sleek wall-mounted ekey finger scanners integrate seamlessly with Crestron 3-Series® control systems.

Smart lighting is a huge selling point that can now be included in any priced home without complicated setup, thanks to products like the NOON Lighting System.  NOON installs like a light switch, but works like a system, rivaling the performance of “high-end” lighting systems without the complexity or cost. Patented bulb detection technology automatically creates beautiful lighting scenes using the fixtures you already have with no need for custom wiring.  Another interesting product from LIFX controls lights via WiFi – no hub or bridge required. LIFX innovations include tap control, infrared for security cameras, high lumen range, ultra-low energy settings and more. LIFX utilizes Brilliant Control to turn indoor, outdoor and feature lights on/off, dim lights, change colors, and create scenes using an all-in-one mobile app for iOS and Android.

Smart Home neighborhoods definitely present possibilities. While early projects, in most cases, are not exactly practical quite yet for the marketplace, the knowledge being gleaned is a positive step forward. Alabama Power, the state’s largest utility, has made headlines with its The Smart Neighborhood Builder program at Reynolds Landing, a 62-home Smart Neighborhood community that is interconnected with smart home technology and powered through a 1-megawatt microgrid. The homes in the community are 35 percent more energy efficient than homes built to state building code, according to the firms involved, with Smart home features including remote controlled door locks, lights, and security systems. In exchange for living in such a technologically advanced environment, the homeowners in the community agreed to allow their energy usage data to be harvested and analyzed. The neighbors also participate in focus group discussions with the partners to talk about what’s working and what needs improvement. While sales of new homes sold quickly due to the marketing of the Smart Home community, developers say their main objective is to use this project to understand what load shapes and customer interactions will be like 20 years from now.

While developers explore the possibilities of Smart Home neighborhoods, builders can no longer justify that including some Smart Home capabilities is impractical or reserved purely for higher priced homes. Likewise, remodelers seeking the best and least expensive way to upgrade a home without a full home renovation also benefit from current advancements. In considering what their projects will include, all must keep in mind that the goal is to make homeowner’s lives easier and not harder. It will be important to know your buyer and their specific expectations in determining which products and platforms make sense to use right now and which areas to keep a focus on for the future. Chances are, anything you think might be possible next year, probably will be possible even sooner. And some things we never thought of yet will be, too!

With one-touch, NOON’s modern switches work together to transform a room’s mood or accent an activity.