Smart Home Technology Ideas and Energy Solutions

Bend’s Home Systems Solutions owner Lawrence Fisher tells us about smart home technology, energy solutions, ideas and development, and how “The Jetsons”-style homes are now a reality for any home.
What are smart homes?
Smart homes are homes that incorporate advanced automation systems that control and monitor all the things that happen in and around the home—audio and visual entertainment, lighting, comfort, shading, surveillance and so on. It’s essentially taking a home and connecting all the systems into one easy-to-control platform, which can be accessed from a computer, tablet, smart phone or even just your voice. Although some homes may have “smart home” features, a truly smart home is one that is completely wired for full automation. Think of it like the Jetsons’ house, but much better!
Which aspects of smart home living are customers requesting most?
Most customers start with surround sound systems and whole-house music for their home. Home networking is also popular. Today we have so many devices that we depend on for work, play and family time. We’re using Skype, Netflix, Pandora, and a multitude of other Internet based apps— sometimes all at once. That puts a heavy burden on a network system and smart home technology can stitch it all together. Customers want a reliable and easy-to-use system so they can fully enjoy their home with ease. Third would be automated lighting and shading, which when they work together, are a nice addition to climate control inside a home.
smart home kitchen
How are smart home technologies changing the way people live?
Smart home technologies allow your home to work for you, adding simplicity and convenience. For instance, you can program a “good night” setting and with one click on your phone, you can turn off interior lighting, turn on exterior lighting, set the thermostat, lower the shades and lock the doors. A smart home can also help families be more energy efficient by closely monitoring energy use and allowing you to adjust accordingly.
How are smart home features integrated into the home aesthetically?
Well, in the past, high tech stuff wasn’t necessarily pretty—console TVs, CD racks and clunky speakers. Today products (such as speakers, flush mount TVs and projectors) are much nicer-looking, but can also be hidden away out of sight if the customer prefers. We’re really excited about hidden technologies such as invisible in-wall and in-ceiling speakers that perform beautifully. Control systems, such as wall- mounted touchpads, can also be sleek and low-profile to match the color or finish with the home style. In addition, we love working with custom woodworkers and cabinetmakers to integrate custom cabinetry into projects.
north rim automated home
What developments are happening in smart home technology that will be available on the market soon?
One thing we are seeing more of is voice control, where you can literally tell your house what to do. Amazon’s Alexa is just the start of this type of technology and voice control systems are getting better each year. We also now have Organic LED (OLED) televisions, which is the biggest advancement in TVs in the last decade. They hit on the big three tickets: amazing contrast, very thin depth and extreme energy efficiency. Lastly, there are some cool new surveillance technologies that include face recognition and 360-degree cameras that allow you to see so much more of your property.
This article is also published in Cascade Living Magazine. If you’re interested in looking at places for sale with smart home features around Central Oregon, Portland, or the Oregon Coast, get in touch with one of our brokers.