It’s easy to forget that the technology we use every day once only existed in the imaginations of quirky sci-fi writers. Now, these innovations appear in our everyday lives and continue to change the way our communities, cities, and jobs appear and function.

With so many inventions changing the way we live, shop, work, and play, it isn’t a surprise to learn that our homes are also evolving to keep up with these emerging technologies. When houses are outfitted with some of the latest and greatest innovations, we call these houses “smart homes.”

Smart technology – whether in your phone, car, or home – is about automation. Home automation alleviates household upkeep to give you and your family more safety, control, and time to do what you love.

You don’t have to be Tony Stark to own and to configure smart home technologies. Now more than ever, these devices are affordable and easy to set up. Smart home technologies exist already in the homes of normal Central Texas families, promising to increase safety, ease, and energy efficiency.

Here are some key benefits of smart home technologies we see regularly across Central Texas:

1) Connection that makes everything simpler

It was a huge technological leap forward when devices at home could be turned on and off through our smart phones. Recently, innovation took another leap.

With voice-powered technologies like Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can speak directly to a console in your house to control specific aspects of your Central Texas home. You can make purchases, have pressing questions answered, turn on and off your lights, adjust up or down your A/C, play your favorite podcast, and send emails to colleagues no more effort than what it takes to speak those commands.

And remote phone commands are now more incredible than ever. You can control your home’s heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC), lighting, security system, CO detectors, and even care for your pets from afar via smart home technology through apps on your phone. These remote commands have been around for years, but their precision and capabilities are sharpening almost every day.

2) Technology that improves your safety

Many families consider safety the most valuable feature in any smart home. Some traditional home appliances—like smoke detectors for example—have for a while remained amazingly low-tech. Recently, many of these behind-the-times technologies have been modernized.

Everyday home technologies are becoming safer, accomplishing more, and catering to our every need, whim, or desire. Nest Protect and First Alert, new smoke detector innovators, allow you to receive remote notifications, dismiss false alarms (burned the toast again!) or set up night lights in your home.

Home automation can help give you the peace of mind that your home and family are safe, even when you’re not there.

With a smart home, if you forgot to lock the front door, just pull up the app on your iPhone to shut the lock (using a system like the August Smart lock). If you have left the lights on (again!) or the coffee maker on, simply turn it off with the remote pressing of a button. If someone rings the doorbell late at night, you can have a camera that flips on to reveal who’s outside.

Smart home technology makes homes and families safer across Central Texas.

3) Automation that gives time back to your priorities

Anyone who has washed their clothes by hand can speak to the immense time that’s saved by owning a washing machine and dryer. Smart home technology provides the same ease.

Cleaning devices help families allocate more time to the hobbies they enjoy. The latest versions of Roomba, for example, can be set to begin cleaning your floors at a specified time of day. That means you can leave for work in the morning and literally return at the end of the day to a cleaner floor than you left.

Of course, Texas heat is ample reason to own a pool. With smart home technology like the Dolphin Nautilus, your pool will be cleaned by a robot so that you don’t have to scrub your pool’s peripheries every few days. Now, your pool can be enjoyed without the daily upkeep.

We aren’t quite to the Futurama-tier of home automation. But as self-driving cars, automated lights and A/C, e-books, and other technologies continue to shape what we consider normal, it’s no surprise that our chores will begin to take care of themselves. Sci-fi creatives are going to have to dream a little bigger pretty soon.

4) Better energy efficiency now and for the future

The smart home is constantly evolving. Evolution means efficiency. We are still at the beginning of the smart home tech-boom, which means the most proficient and mind-boggling inventions are waiting to hit the Central Texas market.

Nest, a leader in smart home thermostats, just came out with its third generation of smart home thermostat technology that has the capability of connecting to your home’s water heater.
Many of these technologies use data to improve cost and energy efficiency, saving you money in the long run, and helping the environment to boot. When your thermostat can adjust your home’s temperature according to the temperature outside, then you end up with less energy lost and more $$$ saved.

In the same way that people wait for the next iPhone generation, many families keep their eyes on the tech market for the latest and greatest breakthroughs to make their Central Texas lives simpler and more efficient.

5) It caters to your family’s needs

One of the greatest features of smart homes is that they are not generic, one-size-fits-all systems. Smart home accouterments arrive in many sizes and styles with diverse purposes. Ultimately, a smart home is whatever you make it to be.

If you want a simple home that emphasizes safety and simplicity, then installing locks and lights that obey a tap on your phone may be all you need to outfit your home.

If you want to be more creative, Google technology that exists within your hobbies or occupation. If you’re a handyman, Craftsman has a toolbox you can lock/unlock from your phone, with outlets for powering and charging your tools in the same place you store them.

If you’re a sucker for romance, you can dim or change the color of the lights in a room with the click of a button on your phone. Of course, you should then go the next step and also turn on some soft jazz to play from your surround sound - also initiated from your phone - to really set the mood.

No matter your style, it’s the personal details catered to your family that makes your house a home. Get creative and tell us about it in the comments below!

Central Texas has been a leader in tech since the early ‘60s. At JB Goodwin real estate, we recognize our community as tech-savvy and want to help you secure a smart home that can be outfitted with the smart technologies of your choosing. If you’re shopping for a house to rent or buy in Austin, San Antonio, or any other city across Central Texas, look no further than our team. We look forward to helping your family.

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