What does it do then?
It will open the front door and turn on the porch light when you approach it at the end of the day. It will know exactly how low to dim the lights when you’re in bed, watching Netflix. It will update you on the weather and traffic conditions the moment you wake up, and remind you about your kid’s after school schedules in the evening!
Can you even sleep better in a cold home? Yes, a smart home will adjust your thermostats automatically based on time and outside temperature; when you’re out of town, it will monitor water leaks, help you check on your house remotely via a security system synced to your smartphone and will even automatically turn lights on & off to make it look like someone is actually around when you’re actually on a beach holiday thousands of kilometres away.
If all this sounds like music to your ears, you should know that having a smart home is already within your reach, with very little work to do, to put it together.
In Ottawa, real-estate developer eQ Homes changed its decade old business model to exclusively start building technologically advanced homes at the start of this year. The company has seven communities in development at the moment, from Greystone Village to Manotick.
eQ Homes’ marketing manager Tobin Kardish commented, “I’m not going to say someone’s purchased a house from us because of that, but there’s a whole bunch of different decisions (that go into buying a house). You could be looking at us versus builder X and Y. People shop by square footages, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, certain things like, is there hardwood or granite countertops? Let’s say everything is equal. You might be leaning towards us a little bit more because we offer these things standard in the house that you don’t have to buy after the fact.”
What are ‘those standard things’ that Kardish speaks about? They include the Nest smart thermostat, a hub that connects multiple devices as well as automated lighting by Lutron. For an additional cost, home buyers can include a smart garage-door opener and front-door lock, a smart water shut-off valve and more lighting options! eQ Homes offers a package upgrade that is now worth $6,950 plus HST — a portion of your current home’s cost, which could $300,000+.
In the high-end housing market, connectivity plays a big factor in the prices. Roberto Campagna, owner and president of Roca Homes, fielded his first smart-home request around 2010. It started with automated shades and drapes for his homes’ windows and evolved from there.
Most of his homes now involve some connected element, whether it’s audio, video, security, lighting or HVAC. “Our approach is holistic. How do we want to complement the overall design?” Campagna added.
This kind of technology is meant to have a functional and almost futuristic aesthetic to a home. In parts of homes, a tidy look makes it even better, such as having one switch for multiple lights.
What does the current, general consensus in Canada say about all this? Many are already getting the gadgets such as Google Home and Amazon Echo to make their lives slightly easier, but going beyond that? We’ll write about it in the follow up in two week’s time!