Smart Homes Means Smart Homeowners
I remember my parents getting our family’s first computer from my school in the ’90s. It was small and the screen was black with green lettering. It was primarily for communication between parents and teachers, but it was cool and it was useful. Our next computer took residence on a huge desk right near our dining room table. I didn’t use it much, but I watched my parents and my older brother explore this new world of technology.
This past Christmas, my 5-year-old niece asked for (and got) an Amazon Kindle for Christmas. My 7-year-old nephew has owned his own laptop for two years. If I’m being honest, this craving for technology at such a young age scares me. Yes, there are positives: Kids can interact and learn with games, they can read books, and they learn to problem-solve—to name a few. But it really wasn’t that long ago that these hand-held tools didn’t exist. I’m only 29 years old and when I was 5 years old, I had no idea that my life would seemingly require an iPhone.
Whether you like it or not, however, technology is here to stay—and that includes in the home performance industry. Home automation is growing rapidly, giving homeowners the options to customize their climate and save energy. (You can read more about efficiency and demand response in this GreenTech Media article.)
There’s no doubt that this technology wave will be beneficial to home energy as it engages homeowners and makes them aware of exactly how much energy they’re using. And on the other side of the coin, home performance apps are becoming more affordable. Take the $350 app that turns your iPhone into an IR camera, for example. (Although, it’s noticeably discouraging that this article says this app can be “used to locate lost pets in the dark, look for energy leaking from your house, or to watch for wildlife.”) All true, but unfortunately not all as useful in the fight against excessive energy use at home.
The bottom line is that people love these types of technology: They make lives easier and they engage the human mind. This technology also offers a huge opportunity for home performance. Being able to show homeowners how their homes function with tools they already own (their phones, for example), means that home performance can be accessible. Home performance professionals need to strategically use these tools to both engage the younger newcomers to the field as well as engage their customers. If used and offered appropriately, these apps, smart homes, and hand-held tools will serve as a way for our industry to get into the mainstream. And as we all know, the mainstream is where we need to be to survive.
What’s your company doing to integrate technology into your company’s offerings? Please share with us—we’re curious to see what our industry is doing to move forward with the crowd.
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