Keeping Up with the (High-Tech) Joneses

In our society, it seems like the latest technology lasts about a day before the next best thing hits the market. You got your new smart phone? Uh-oh! A newer one – and a better one – will be on the shelves before you walk out of the store.

It can be frustrating and hard to keep up. That’s exactly what’s happening with high-tech home automation, also known as Smart Home technology.

So, as we wrap up our show about ‘Hot Trends,’ in which we’ve talked about the most state-of-the-art, cutting edge, high-tech advances in the American Home – we wanted to explore one last question:

Do you really need this stuff? I mean, do you really have to keep up with the Joneses when it comes to all the newest technology for your home?

The short answer is – no.

There’s no rush. All these new trends will be around for a while, if they’re really good. And if they’re not? They’ll fade away.

One approach to take is – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

That makes things pretty easy. Only consider upgrading things that finally break down. And then – and only then – consider ramping up, and entering the world of high-tech in your home.

That being said, let’s take one final look at the pros and cons involved, in turning your home – into a ‘smart home.’ OK? Here we go:

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Let’s start with the pros.

For one, a smart home can help you save money on heating and air-conditioning.

With this technology, you can control and monitor all of your energy use REMOTELY through the click of a button. It’s easy to keep your house at a certain temperature, even if you’re far away from home. That’s convenient for your comfort level, but it also allows you to shave money off utility bills. For example, in the winter you could turn your heat down when you leave home. Then, BEFORE you return, you could turn it back up from wherever you are at the time.

Unlike automatic timers, you can control your energy use at will. Same thing goes for lights and electricity.

That leads us to the second pro:

Smart Homes can be safer, and more secure.

Have you ever gone somewhere and thought to yourself, “Did I forget to lock the front door?” If you’re equipped with smart home technology, you can throw those worries out the window. It allows you to lock your doors remotely. Also, if you’re getting away for a vacation or a long weekend, you can flip the lights on and off whenever you want, so it looks like someone is home. You can also program a security system or smoke alarm to send an alert to your smart phone so you know right away if something goes wrong. And you can watch LIVE security camera footage in the palm of your hand.

The third pro – This stuff can make your life easier, and more fun!

Think about it – you could sit in a chair and with ONE remote, turn on the TV, play a movie, dim the lights, turn on the air conditioning and preheat the oven for dinner. Or you could even do all that stuff from OUTSIDE your home. Although I’m not sure why you’d start a movie, if you weren’t home.

But anyway, if you have the money, it’s hard to find a limit to the possibilities that are out there.

But, as we mentioned earlier, we’ve got some pros AND cons…

So, ‘Con” number one: the uncertainty factor.

Nobody is really sure where this technology is going. A lot of it is BRAND new. Advances are happening constantly and nothing is set in stone when it comes to Smart Homes. Companies are, more or less, experimenting. So, it’s smart to invest in new technologies that you feel confident you will enjoy for years to come, even as newer, faster, smarter alternatives enter the market.

A few years back you bought a brand new 780p HDTV. Best set on the block…until….the 1080p HD televisions hit the market. Followed closely by the 1080P 3-D sets. And for that, of course, you needed the 3-D Blu-Ray player and those Buddy Holly 3-D glasses….and you thought you were all set.

UNTIL…..Here comes 4k Ultra HDTV with FOUR TIMES the picture resolution. Wow.

The forecast is clear. Now matter how new or shiny the next advance in home comfort is, something newer, something shinier will be coming down the assembly line, like, tomorrow.

OK, so “CON” number two: affordability.

This is probably the main reason Smart Homes have not yet taken over the housing market. This trendy technology is pricey. Just like anything else – the more you add, the more you pay. But do you remember your first desktop computer? It probably cost you several thousand dollars. A typical smart phone costs hundreds of dollars today while giving you more computing power in the palm of you hand than you ever had with that C-P-U. So, you can expect these new home technologies to grow ever more affordable over time.

And con number three: to use this stuff, you have to be pretty tech-savvy. And a lot of us just – aren’t.

Look, it’s a fact of life that adopting new technologies pose some challenges. But the real advances in home technologies today are how intuitive and easy to use they are becoming. Grandma and Grandpa may have had trouble logging on to the internet to check email TEN years ago. But look around and you see older folks swiping their fingers across their tablets and smart phones with ease. The user experiences of today have changed how quickly EVERYONE will be able to adopt new advances in smart home technologies.

Simply put, this is new and exciting time for real estate, and Smart Homes are the wave of the near future.

If you plan to invest in the latest advancements to bring your home into the 21st century, make sure you do your homework.

Analyze the pros and cons of the new technologies, research reviews to evaluate their ease of use, and consider how long you will enjoy the benefits of this investment as newer competitive products enter the market.

That homework will be really important. Because remember, if you buy a smart phone, and a better one comes out? You can just toss the old one, and get the new one. Easy for smart phones.

But that would be a LOT harder doing that – with a smart house!

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