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The New “Mobile Home”: How the Internet of Things Is Increasing Home Connectivity, Part 2

The New “Mobile Home”: How the Internet of Things Is Increasing Home Connectivity, Part 2

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In our last blog post, we reviewed the growing “connected home” market, which is taking off as do-everything tablets and smartphones enable homeowners to access and control virtually any item in their home from anywhere at anytime.

We highlighted products that are most mature in their development - home heating and cooling systems. Despite the longevity of products like Nest and Honeywell’s Lyric thermostat, in 2014, about one-third of overall Smart Home dollars were spent on safety and security, while the home entertainment segment claims about 25 percent of the overall market share. Lighting, sprinkler systems, and hubs that allow communication among products round out the current marketplace, but, “for many homeowners, the only limit is imagination,” according to Matt Carter, a South Carolina-based consultant and electronic systems contractor and spokesperson for CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association).

Imaginative homeowners are already snatching up connected devices as they enter the market. Nearly 20 percent of homeowners today are using an automated home feature and the market topped $33 billion in 2013.

The market is expected to reach the $70 billion mark in the next 3 years; below we’ve highlighted additional products that will take connectivity to a new level.

GE has been developing a full line of Wi-Fi-connected appliances, many available this year. Consumers will be able to use their smartphones to check a dishwasher’s status, see how much time and detergent are left in a washing machine, and know whether the refrigerator door has been left ajar. The company already has developed Wi-Fi-enabled ranges and wall ovens, allowing a cook to set a timer, check on a meal and preheat the oven from the grocery store.

Kwikset may be 69 years old, but the company has an eye on the future with its Kevo Bluetooth-enabled deadbolt, which transforms a homeowner’s smartphone into a key using a mobile app and encryption technology. A quick touch of the Kevo deadbolt unlocks the door for touch-to-open convenience. A fob is available for those without phones, and sendable e-keys allow guests to enter during their stay.  They also have a line of SmartCode™ Touchpad and Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolts with Home Connect™ Technology that integrate with home security systems for complete home automation.  

Garage-door giant LiftMaster’s latest line of products, called MyQ Technology, allows customers to use a smartphone, tablet or computer to check whether the door is open or closed – and, if open, to close it. A smartphone also can control home lighting from anywhere.

One to watch is Rachio, a Denver-based upstart that does for the sprinkler system what Nest and other HVAC controllers do for home heating. Rachio’s system is easily installed and uses the home’s Wi-Fi, a smartphone and a small, installable home device to manage the home’s sprinkler system. Homeowners in drought-prone areas are especially interested in the technology, which can monitor the season and current weather conditions to adjust watering as needed.  

As the Internet of Things takes over the home, the key, according to experts, will be consolidating the currently fragmented products into an open ecosystem. Companies like Apple, with its HomeKit, and Samsung, with SmartThings, are already developing these ecosystems, and more opportunities arise with each year.

About the author: Glenn Renner is president and COO of HomeSphere, the homebuilding industry's first and only B2B digital lead generation and customer retention platform.

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