From climate and lighting upgrades to security and entertainment features, homeowners are embracing smart technology when renovating their homes.
According to the Houzz Smart Home Trends survey, nearly half of all homeowners are incorporating smart technology when undergoing renovation, but one expert believes the numbers are even higher.
“I would say it’s even more than 50 percent,” said Shawn Hansson, chief executive officer and founder of Logic Integration, a Colorado audiovisual and automation firm specializing in the design and installation of easy-to-use technology in homes and businesses.
One reason is that manufacturers are making it easy to get in on the trend, with smart devices available across a spectrum of price points, Hansson said.
Just the beginning
Renovated homes are more than twice as likely to include a smart system or device than before the renovation (51 versus 20 percent, respectively, according to the survey). Nearly a third of upgraded smart home systems or devices can be controlled via a central hub (30 percent), and a quarter include voice-controlled features (26 percent).
“The trend is only going to get bigger,” Hansson said. As homeowners dip their toes into the smart home market with relatively inexpensive upgrades like replacing light switches, they find themselves wanting more, he said.
New smart systems or devices are most likely to be added as part of home security or safety upgrades, followed by entertainment, climate and lighting upgrades. Smart thermostats are the single most popular smart device in a renovated home.
“Homeowners aim to improve the comfort, convenience, safety and energy usage of their home during their renovations, and smart technology appears to address many of their needs,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at home design and decor site Houzz. “While many homeowners report difficulty learning about and finding the right smart products to fit their needs, high levels of adoption and satisfaction among renovators are sound predictors of a wider reliance on these technologies among the general public in the near future.
Ease and security
Amazon Echo, one of last year’s hottest Christmas gifts, is also one of the easiest for homeowners to use, Hansson said. The voice-powered wonder has become an essential part of a connected home, allowing users to interact with their home devices by speaking to Alexa, the device’s virtual assistant. Place the Echo or smaller Dot around the home to play music, set alarms, control lighting and perform thousands of other skills.
“You’re in the kitchen and see you’re running low on paper towels; simply say, ‘Alexa, order more paper towels.’ People love the convenience,” Hansson said.
Safety and security are big selling points, Hansson said. The report found that homeowners want smart technology to protect their homes against intruders (67 percent) and monitor or control the safety of their home when they are away (52 percent) or at home (30 percent). Protection against intruders is a stronger motivation for those installing smart security and safety features than those installing non-smart options (67 versus 51 percent, respectively).
When it comes to smart entertainment devices, improving the experience (80 percent) or the comfort of the home (55 percent), and the desire to have the latest technology or to change the mood or vibe of the home are paramount (27 percent each).
The majority of renovating homeowners rely on professional help for the installation of both smart and non-smart security, climate control and lighting products, though they are even more likely to turn to pros in the case of smart technology upgrades in these categories.
“Security all comes down to the network,” said Hansson, who urged homeowners to use professional installers. “The networks that get hacked are most often the ones that homeowners have set up themselves.”