Watch any future focused show from the 1960’s and you may have seen a portrayal of a future 21st Century lifestyle that saw our every day to day needs serviced by robots and smart homes. Images of robots walking dogs and cooking meals while we lounged around in comfort were the norm. Shows like The Jetsons had us flying everywhere, with conveyor belts reducing our need to walk.
As we know the modern reality bears little resemblance to the fiction of decades ago. Thanks to advances in technology and communication, we are seeing truly smart homes becoming more commonplace. So, what’s a smart home, is it worth the investment, and is it right for you?
Smart homes are homes where the devices within it can be controlled remotely. Lights, air conditioners, televisions, appliances and others can be run from afar, helping to save costs, prepare your home for your arrival, or even ward off burglars.
The arrival of artificial intelligence or AI, and the ability it provides electronic devices to learn behaviors (and take the appropriate action) will lift this tech to a new level. Lights will learn to turn off when no one is in the room, a television will automatically record a show you may have forgotten, or a fridge will detect what staples are low and send you an SMS reminder. New AI technology will serve to take smart homes and smart technology closer to the reality our 1960’s forebears envisioned.
Surprisingly this investment isn’t expensive. Tools such as Amazon Echo and Google Home can be purchased for $100-$200 and run without your smartphone. They can provide you with information, entertainment, and security. Their voice recognition technology, and compatibility with household brands such as Sony and Samsung, enables simple smart home technology to be put in place for very little cost.
Smart home technology can soon help pay for itself. With an average electricity bill of $700-$800 per quarter, many households could do with responsive equipment that works more efficiently to reduce power consumption. Some insurance companies also offer a lower premium where video surveillance and monitoring equipment is installed.
Comfort and time efficiency are the key sales points for smart home systems. Imagine being able to turn on the air conditioning in efficient mode an hour or two before you get home, or turn on the oven while you’re still at the shops. The convenience of running your home remotely removes reliance on less reliant sources – such as your spouse or teenage children!
There’s also a safety element that’s appealing. The AI of smart homes will also be able to detect when normal patterns haven’t been met, such as an elderly parent turning the kettle on by 9am. Smart home tech will be able to send alarms to loved ones, which could potentially minimise suffering – say if the home owner suffered a fall – or be the difference between life and death. This afford the elderly additional independence, extending their stay at home for as long as possible.
Smart Homes – Are They Right For You?
Firstly, you need to consider if your current home appliances and devices are compatible with the hardware or apps that are currently available. It doesn’t make financial sense if you’re spending $200 on smart home tech, then another $15,000 updating your electronics to make them sync. You also want to make sure you’re using your smart home system as much as possible to realise your investment. You may be better off waiting until your existing electronics need updating and reviewing an investment in a smart home system then.
Unless you’re building from scratch – including the latest electronics – we suggest that making your home smarter should be considered a longer-term project. Smart home technology is like anything else; as time goes by you’ll undoubtedly discover new and improved advances which make previous purchases practically obsolete. After all, like any technology you will find new and improved offerings could make your recent purchases obsolete!
We won’t be getting to the Jetson lifestyle anytime soon but embracing current smart home technology is a step on the road to a lower cost, more enjoyable lifestyle tomorrow.
If you’re trying to identify a plan for building and protecting your wealth, you don’t need to do it alone. A financial adviser (or planner) spends their days identifying and presenting opportunities to their clients. Our simple, quick, free service will connect you to the best independent financial advisers, based on your needs. Click here to get started.
The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into consideration your personal situation or circumstances. You should consider whether the information contained in this article is suitable to your needs and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or other finance professional.