Home Is Where the Tech Is

Today’s homeowners are a varied bunch, but they all have one thing in common: they’re more dependent upon technology than any previous generation. From dazzling home entertainment centers and T-1 lines with built-in Wi-Fi to less obvious things like HVAC and security, even our humblest homes have grown surprisingly technology-driven.  Here are the three biggest trends for hi-tech homes.

Given that heating and air-conditioning costs run $200 billion annually nationwide and amounts to our second largest source of energy consumption, it shouldn’t be surprising that technological advances have unassumingly revolutionized the industry. Perhaps the most obvious advancement is in ductless heating and cooling systems like the mini-split system. These systems allow different rooms to be controlled individually instead of having to heat or cool an entire house.  Other innovations in residential HVAC are part of the smart house revolution—the heating and cooling are controlled with apps installed on the homeowner’s smartphone, which enables more precise climate control.

Another area where homes go hi-tech is security. Today’s homeowner can install video cameras in every area of the house and yard, and control them all through a smartphone app. This has made a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of home security. While about 20% of American homes are equipped with security systems, about 50% of those systems are used regularly because manually turning it off and on is such a hassle. The ease of app-based security means that security systems will be used regularly after they are installed, and homeowners are more likely demand security systems be built into new homes. With remote appliance and lighting controls, the smart house revolution also makes it easier for frequent travelers to create the illusion that their house is occupied more often than it really is.

Our demand for instant entertainment has marched lock-step with the tech revolution, and it has colonized our homes in the form of truly awe-inspiring home theater systems. Some of the biggest trends in home theaters are also, for the first time, the most affordable. The size of the home theater room is increasing, and it’s likely to be incorporated into the existing den or family room in order to maximize space. Buyers are also demanding multimedia networking capability that incorporates their video, music, gaming, and streaming service into one system. Folks who want more flexibility in from their sound systems are shying away from built-in speakers and opting for free-standing sound bars and wall-mounted speakers. The value for money spent on home theater systems is at an all-time high and is only going to increase.

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