According to realtors, smart homes are worthwhile investments. In fact, the global smart homes market is expected to exceed $53 billion by 2022. And, according to many realtors, smart homes can be a worthwhile investment to increase the value of your home.
However, for many, making their home smart is complicated, confusing, and expensive. Many homeowners have yet to fully understand what a smart home is or what measures they can take to make their house smart.
We'll walk through the various areas in your home to consider making "smart", along with the costs associated.
Keep in mind - the beauty of smart technology is that you can start small! In the end, only you can determine if you'll get the value and benefit.
A smart home is one in which most appliances and devices can be controlled remotely through a smartphone or some other network device. The devices and appliances are usually interconnected through the internet, enabling you to control them.
Example of smart home devices and appliances include but are not limited to:
With the help of the remote control, smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer interface, you can schedule these systems to start working at certain times. Then, you can monitor their activity.
Smart Home Fact: Dimming your lights by 50% will save 40% on the lighting portion of your energy bill. [Source]
The ultimate purpose of a smart home is to help you and the other inhabitants enjoy ultimate comfort, safety, and convenience with minimum effort, time, and cost investments.
Many homeowners — whether they're technolgy challenged or former renters in an expensive city like Chicago — have yet to fully understand what a smart home is or what measures they can take to make their house smart.
In order to make these possible, smart home systems rely on the following key components. These vary in type and number according to the system’s complexity.
In the past, turning a house smart was only possible through hardwiring and replacing most appliances and devices. Nowadays technology has advanced. This makes reliable wireless systems available.
Many of them are able to recognize and control existing systems and appliances, or require only small add-ins. The prices have decreased considerably as well.
Other smart home technology, like a biometric gun safe, operates independently of anything else. You don't need any associated devices or connections to utilize.
The prices of smart homes systems vary according to several factors:
Systems produced under popular, well known brands are more expensive. But, these are also widely available, more durable, backed by better support services, and with more system components and replacement parts available.
For every brand name model on the market, you'll find dozens of imitation knock offs. Many of these are junk, but many can work very well. Read reviews to see if the product has a track record of performing over a long period.
Even with off brand smart devices, you do run the risk over time that they will stop working, due to software updates and changes.
The more components a system has, typically the more expensive it is. When we say components, we are referring to the number of devices/features that can be connected.
However, in some systems, the price per component drops as the number of components increases. This makes buying a more complex system from the beginning (preferable for those who can afford it).
You can also choose to add new components to the system later down the line when these become necessary, or their cost is no longer a burden.
This won't come as a surprise, but the more features and capabilities a smart home system has, the more expensive it is.
Thus, voice control systems with dedicated apps and self-learning abilities cost more than basic systems that allow control only from a remote, user dashboard, or base unit control panel.
Smart Home Fact: Estimates are that the total impact of Smart Technology on the economy will be a $15 Trillion addition to the GDP over the next 20 years. [Source]
Many smart home products come with added, ongoing fees, such as subscriptions, storage, or access costs.
Some smart home services come with monthly service fees that include security monitoring and basic virtual assistance. Other self monitoring systems can be purchased without any of these fees.
In some cases, the service fee includes a rental fee for the equipment. The service provider may have special financing offers that allow you to cover the costs in several installments.
Generally, affordable smart home systems cost under $1,000. Most Americans spend between $500 and $2,000 on their new systems. Other costs that need to be taken into account refer to the system’s installation and to the monthly service fee if any. High-end systems can cost over $10,000.
Those who are not ready to invest in a smart home system, but already have some smart devices and appliances around the house can get a taste of what these systems have to offer with a smart home open source tool. Open source home automation tools are functional, easy to use, and, most importantly, free.
Smart Home Fact: 81% of smart home users said they would be more apt to buy a home that had connected technology. [Source]
If you decide you want added security, more control over the appliances in your home, and improved comfort, you should start with a home evaluation. Its purpose is to identify the devices and appliances that can be controlled remotely, and those that need replacement in the near future.
It should also identify your immediate needs in terms of system components. These include what cameras, sensors, and controllers a system should have.
In the end, deciding on what is best for you and your home will make automation an easy choice.
Once you gain a clearer picture of what your needs are, you can begin to look up affordable smart home systems and compare their prices and features. This will allow you to figure out your budget needs and get an idea of what systems are more suitable for your home and your needs.
The acquisition should only occur after carefully analyzing offers and service terms and conditions. When you are sure you have found the best deal and you have the necessary financing and installation solutions, then it is time to buy.
Once the system is up and running, adding new components and functionalities to it should be just a matter of time.
Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.