New technology drives service integration

Definition of a Smart Home by Coldwell Banker

Smart Homes in REALTALK #114
Smart Homes - The advances in REALTALK™ #114

Implementing Smart Home technology to new home construction is advancing and with wireless connectivity added to the systems, the same technology can be added with integration to existing homes. In some respect a programmable thermostat to control heating and air conditioning is considered the basic level of a Smart Home, but there is a whole new world when you plan your Smart Home around environmental, security and entertainment controls.

I first reported on Smart Home technology two years ago with a demonstration in REALTALK™#42 by Mark Bolduc of Wicked Smart Homes. Since then his company has implemented systems in such places as the new Infinity community on Longboat Key and many other homes and residences in the area. I updated advances in Smart Homes this month in REALTALK™ #114.

A lot has changed since then. I learned first-hand of some of the new technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This past weekend Harold Bubil, real estate editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, interviewed me for his article on Smart Homes and BuilderFest. The emphasis now is on voice recognition and total integration.

A software app that recognizes your commands is the beginning of a new frontier in these systems. Whether you tell Siri to turn on the lights, turn up the volume of your Sonos speaker system in the family room, or activate your home security alarm, the integration of voice commands to Smart Homes is the future.

Even Amazon’s Echo with Alexa software is considered for home integration and companies are now building this component into their televisions and home appliances such as refrigerators. Some day you may be able to ask how long has the milk been stored in your refrigerator. Alexa is currently implemented in Smart Home hubs, lighting, HVAC and security systems. A smaller version, the Echo Dot, and a portable speaker version, Amazon Tap is on the market. You can use both these systems to order your pizza for dinner or send a voice command to set an alarm clock. The Tap is under $130 while the Dot is less than $50. The full Echo system is listed at $179.99 on Amazon.

Google Home integrates nicely with NEST thermostats, smoke detectors, CO alarms and security cameras. With a simple command that starts with “OK Google,” users can also communicate with Chromecast products. You also have a Google assistant answer some of your most pressing questions such as knowing the speed of light. In time they expect to accompany the assistant when services are activated for local home grocery delivery, for instance.

When I was in Vegas I spent more time in the Smart Home sections of the CES, rather than lose money in the casinos. The technology was fantastic but I was more interested in applications that integrated all the systems from one device or app on a Smart Phone. Almost anything electronic can be implemented into the overall convenience of a Smart Home, even a toaster that has a Wi-fi or Bluetooth component.

Coldwell Banker has partnered with CNET to set a definition of a Smart Home. To start, the home must have reliable Internet service. To be considered a Smart Home, there must be connections to at least three of following home services: Lighting, safety, entertainment, appliances, HVAC, outdoors, security and temperature. Outdoors could include services such as landscape lighting, pool covers, pond systems or plant watering. The company continues to lead the country in new implementation and has put out a glossary of terms for Smart Homes.

Coldwell Banker Smart Home certificate
I completed my training in Smart Home technology in September through Coldwell Banker University.

I am a certified as a Smart Home agent by Coldwell Banker, and received training through our organization for selling homes with this technology. Coldwell Banker has been a leader in new technologies and have launched a Smart Home kit for staging homes. It is my belief that homes will sell for more and sell quicker by implementing these services. The staging kit is available to home sellers who use Coldwell Banker to sell their home. Announced in august of last year, the $999 kit consists of a Nest thermostat, Nest CO and smoke alarm, Nest indoor security camera, August connect, and Lutron wireless lighting starter kit. Home sellers can install the kit themselves or hire a professional for installation.

Vivint, a company with a strong Florida presence, also offers an integrated package for doorbell, lock, lighting and security under one app with no contract and one monthly fee. They will also customize a package when you call their professionals for a free quote. Packages start at $39.99 per month and include 24/7 monitoring. This includes free installation in Florida, up to $1,500 in free equipment and 24 hours of video storage for security. They even have a good special going on now and waving the start-up costs. Their nearest sales locations are in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

I did have a chance to wander around CES and look at other technologies that included a $10,000 toilet and a Samsung smart watch that will include the iPhone IOS operating system. Now, there's an interesting concept. I also was photographed with Raymond Teller, who legally changed his name to Teller and is one half of the Penn & Teller comedy duo. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

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