The Future of Home Tech: Developments to Impact Your New Home in 2018

The home office in The New American Home has a flat screen TV above a desk and contemporary door.

The New American Home was built with smart home technology in mind. Photography by Jeff Davis.

More than 180,000 people convened in Las Vegas in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to ooh and aah over the future of connected technology.

But what does that have to do with your new home? A lot, actually. A whole lot.

With the rise of smart homes, the homebuilding industry and advanced technologies are inextricably linked. I saw evidence of this at the International Builders’ Show (IBS), also in January, throughout the exhibit floor and in education sessions.

You can’t be in two places at once — or at least not yet (maybe that will happen in time for next year’s show) — so IBS staged a panel discussion, “The Latest Trends for Housing from the Consumer Electronics Show,” with dispatches from CES aimed at teaching professionals, but was as every bit as helpful for homebuyers.

Smart Homes From the Ground Up

NewHomeSource consistently shares the benefits of new home construction with our readers and here’s a big one: A new home can be built as a smart home from the ground up, integrating a holistic smart home system that keeps you as “connected as you want to be without having to stitch together stand-alone home technology products,” as panelist Rob Krohn of Epcon Communities said. Your homebuilder can cater the system to be as easy or as complicated as you want.

Here’s why this matters: Making your used home smarter can involve deep incisions, like ripping out countertops and cabinets. If you start smart, you have a platform to build on as home technologies advance.

During IBS, I toured The New American Home in Montverde, Fla., the official show home of the event and one of the most influential show homes in the nation. Almost every room in the house incorporates elements that boost comfort and convenience. The secret to the fluidity of the home’s wiring is it was all built in as part of the design and construction plan. It was not an afterthought.

Introducing the Control Room

The New American Home features a room that is sure to become a fixture in our lives: the brains of the house. The control room handles all the automation for the house, so automated window treatments, air conditioning, security and lighting are supported from one area of the home, if you don’t count the cloud of data working invisibly behind the scenes.

Thanks to the smart home system, The New American Home functions with only two light switches in its 6,700 square feet. That’s astounding, but not so jaw-dropping as this: “An integrated smart home system learns from your patterns and daily routines and adjusts to make your life easier. Taking it a step further, a smart home detects when something happens out of norm and figures out what to do,” said panelist and Builders Digital Experience (BDX, the parent company of NewHomeSource) CEO Tim Costello.

Lennar, one of the nation's largest builders, recently announced that as part of its “Everything’s Included” homebuilding approach, it will offer Wi-Fi certified home designs that are integrated home automation and voice control with Amazon Alexa. This will allow buyers to control things like their lights, front door lock and thermostat by talking to Amazon Alexa.

Aging in a Smart Home

Perks like voice commands may or may not be interesting to you. But there are other benefits to smart homes that are not just life altering, they’re lifesaving as well as money saving. Assisted living senior care homes cost $5,000 to $7,000 a month, which is considerably more than implementing smart home features designed for aging in place.

Costello commented, “This year was actually a lot about Boomers and it’s what I call human augmentation as a broader category. The use of technology to make life better, longer.”

Smart homes allow seniors to enjoy more independent living and receive better care than they would in an assisted-living environment. In practical terms, the technology now exists for smart homes to offer electronic medication control and fall prevention. Sensor monitoring allows family members to know how their aging loved ones are doing at home when they can’t be physically present.

What’s Next?

Understanding the possibilities of a smart home is just one part of the equation. Soon, you’ll be finding your next new home with the help of technology.
Todd Ristorcelli is a freelance writer and contributor to NewHomeSource.

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