How Smart Homes Are Changing the Way We Live

smart home (v.2)

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It seems that everything in our homes — literally every little thing — is about to become “smart.” Soon your home may have smart lights, a smart thermostat and even a smart fridge. Generally speaking, adding smart technology to a product means that it can connect to the Internet, to your mobile devices and to other household products. Packaging several of these devices with their connected technology provides you your very own smart home.

Each year, tech companies unveil new smart devices and appliances at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and this year didn’t disappoint. CES 2016 debuted smart security cameras, smart electrical switches and sockets, smart beds, smart fridges and even smart skillet-and-app combos. The growing pool of devices may get confusing for some customers – particularly if the idea of going “smart” isn’t something they’re familiar with. So let’s start with the basics.

Smart Lights
Dynamic lighting is no longer confined to luxury home systems. You can now purchase light bulbs and connected technology that allow you to turn on, off or dim using your smartphone. Many of these are LED lights, which means you can select your favorite color or use an app to automatically set the mood for an activity such as watching a movie.

Smart Appliances
Home appliances, including washers, dryers, cooking ranges and refrigerators now come in smart models. These connected appliances allow you to set washing and drying cycles, send oven temperatures and cooking times and check your refrigerator’s ice and water filters from your smartphone. Connected kitchens and other rooms could add enhancements and convenience to everyday tasks.

Smart Living
Ever wished you could switch on the air conditioner or heater before you arrive home? Smart technology, like connected thermostats and HVAC systems, puts this control in your hands both at home and on the go. You can also purchase devices that plug into or replace your outlets, allowing you to control just about any powered device in your home with connected technology.

Smart Safety
Your home should always feel safe, so it’s not surprising that technology that allows you to monitor your home and control safety features has become increasingly popular. Using these smart systems and apps, you can view live video feeds, check security diagnostics and lock or unlock your doors. What’s more, installing certain security systems in your home could result in a discount on your home insurance rates — combining convenience and safety with savings.

The Future
So what comes next? Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a growing component in the smart home arena. Smart homes with sophisticated AI may soon be able to distinguish between you and your family members, and then provide feedback and behaviors based on your preferences and biometrics such as temperature and heartbeat.

Imagine walking into your living room and having the lights dimmed, the temperature set and music playing based on your personal tastes — all without you having to press a single button or say a word.

Or perhaps you’ve just come home from a difficult day at work, driving in frustrating traffic conditions on the road, and your home recognizes your increased heartbeat and temperature and brews a cup of your favorite tea and starts warming your backyard hot tub.

Many of these new technologies are about learning the needs and personalities of the people in a home and then delivering what you need, when you need it. In the near future you may purchase devices that anticipate your household needs, like a refrigerator that knows what’s inside it and can order replacement food for delivery. This is just the beginning, and you may start seeing even more intelligent smart home devices that learn and adapt to you.

It may seem like something right out of science fiction—but the reality could be just around the corner. Each year brings more devices and better technology, all poised to make your future home a smarter one. If you’re interested in learning more about how to protect your home, and how security technology may save you on your home insurance rates, check out our home insurance page.