Smart Homes: Love them or loathe them?

“Did you know there’s an app for that now?”

Smart home

Switching on a lightbulb, boiling the kettle, locking the front door… don’t strain yourself, there’s now some new, fandangled device that will do that for you.

But do we really need them?

A smart home seems like a whole lot of hassle to me. Is it really that hard to flick a switch to turn on a light or walk back from the car to check you’ve locked the front door?

Now even our old mate Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, is creeping into our homes – well actually it’s some far distant cousin of her’s, Alexa, created my shopping giant Amazon.

Like an extremely obliging flatmate, Alexa will move into your home and help you with anything from adding something to your shopping list or ordering you a pizza. Just say “Alexa” and ask away – she’s always listening – that’s not even a little bit creepy…

 

Amazon-Echo-bluetooth-speaker_2.jpg

The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice – digital assistant Alexa can provide you with news, play music and help you with your shopping list.

But unlike a flatmate, Alexa takes up just a little bench space and won’t steal your food – well not yet anyway, who knows what she’ll get up to when you’re not looking.

Is anyone really that time-poor that they can’t write down on a notepad, or the notes app on their phone, that they’ve run out of milk?

It just seems like these inventions are solving problems we don’t really have.

And before anyone jumps to any conclusions, no this blogger is not over-70 bemoaning those “bloody kids and their gadgets” (despite her use of the word “fandangled” earlier.)

In fact, I’m actually a millennial. I love my iPhone – it makes so many aspects of my life much easier, but I’m quite capable of turning on a light when I walk into a room and I don’t think my life is poorer for it.

Granted, some of the smart home technology is pretty, well, smart – so maybe one day I’ll come around…


Take a look at some of the technology that could turn your humble abode into a smart home:

Smart Lock

Lock and unlock your door, create virtual keys for guests, and keep track of who comes and goes, all from your smartphone with the August Smart Lock.


Smart Kettle

iKettle.jpg

Haven’t got a few minutes to wait for the kettle to boil? Then the internet-connected iKettle could have water boiled ready for your tea when you arrive in the kitchen. Just get on the app and schedule it for when you wake up.


Smart Plug

WeMo Switch + Motion

Plug anything into the Belkin WeMo Switch + Motion device and you’ll be able to turn it on and off from your phone and schedule it to come on automatically.


Smart Security Lighting

BeON bulb.jpg

These BeOn’s smart bulbs will keep shining when the power goes out, turn on automatically when they hear your doorbell or alarm, and even replay your typical lighting patterns when you’re not home.


Robot Vacuum Cleaner

iRobot-Roomba-3Stage-Cleaning.jpg

These little guys will drive around your home, hoovering up everything in their path and then head on back to their charging stations before starting all over again.

Now, this seems like a great timesaver but our robot vacuum is just sitting in the corner gathering dust as it was just too noisy and kept getting stuck around the house. But who knows, maybe this model is better? 


Smartphone Interactive Home Camera

Logitech Circle.jpg

Watch over your home via your smartphone with this portable sphere. Just place it in the room you want to capture and login live via the app so you can see, save and share what’s happening at home. You can even talk through it – so if your dog has started chewing the furniture again, maybe a bit of a talking to over the app will confuse him enough to stop.


What do you think of smart home technology? Is there some technology you now couldn’t live without in your home?

Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook pages.

Don’t fear the new technology…

 

Frustration button
Technology has given us many tools to make both our home and work lives a lot easier. Gadgets and Apps to simplify tasks and manage our days better. It’s fantastic, but it’s not always easy adopting new technologies.

There are many reasons that can cause fear in something new. Cost. Not realising exactly how we can benefit from it. Or maybe we are just too comfortable doing things the way we are accustomed to.

At couple of weeks back at Real Estate Connect, I managed to catch a panel discussion on exactly this. Adopting new technologies, or more specifically, how can real estate companies get their agents to adopt new technologies.

What was clear is that rather than fearing the new technology, agents should be more afraid of getting left behind.


Here were some of the key take aways from the discussion:

If it doesn’t pay for the agent, they won’t use it.
There needs to be a bottom line for adopting anything new.

Does it integrate with what the agents already use?
Being able to use something in conjunction with a technology that’s familiar and currently being used, adds real value and makes it less daunting.

What will the return be on my investment of this technology?
If the new technology requires more of an investment than just learning, the returns needs to be worth it.

Will it make a change / immediate impact on my business.
Nothing better than seeing immediate results!

If an agent is not accessible, they lose out.
Today’s tech-savy buyer expects the same from their agents. Those agents who choose not to adopt the technologies that will make them available to buyers, run the very real risk of losing out on business.

Make the agent ‘own the new technology’.
Take your agents who adapt the quickest and make them champions. They will encourage others to adopt and learn the new technologies.

 

Have you started using a new technology or gadget that you think is great?

Tell us about it in the comments below, or on our facebook page.