This is the third of four blogs from The Lanham Group on home-buying trends among Baby Boomers. Watch below for the video on smart homes, and click here to see the complete library in this series.
The running joke among many Baby Boomers is if you want to get rid of the blinking “12:00” on the VCR or DVR, let a 12-year-old program it. Truth is, though, many Boomers (including me) know our technology. We saw live as it aired Apple’s truly groundbreaking and prophetic “1984” Super Bowl commercial introducing the Macintosh computer – and the dawn of the Digital Age, even before the sound of AOL’s dial-up connection harkened exciting new times.
Today, we use smart phones and tablets, connected via Bluetooth in our cars. We talk to Siri and bank with a touch of the screen. We’re not afraid to be early adopters of the latest devices that are truly changing the way we enjoy our modern “Smart Homes.”
Smart Homes Enter our Lives
As a Fort Lauderdale Realtor, I watched as South Florida real estate evolved from the luxury home to smart home. Increasingly tech savvy and comfortable in the digital age, we understand the role technology plays across all touch points of our lives.
We use it at work. We use it while traveling. And now, with the new generation of smart devices and broadband internet connections, and the ever-present “cloud-based” software and services hosted on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer, smart tech is touching every corner of our homes – and lives.
To be sure, smart-home technology – or Domotics (domos, Latin for “home,” with robotics) – is about more than asking a smart speaker to play music on the patio, tell you the marine forecast for your afternoon on the boat, or order goods online. It’s about another groundbreaking evolution unfolding before us: Automation of the home.
Four Generations of Home Automation
Today, home automation is in the midst of four generations of transformation. And for many boomers like me, it’s pretty awe-inspiring to witness.
Home automation began with how we work from home. In fact, home office technology was the First Generation of the connected home. With whole-house Wi-Fi and wireless printers, for example, we discovered how we could be in one room and send commands to another. Pretty awesome at the time, today’s it’s just another feature of the connected modern home.
The Second Generation of automation touches on artificial intelligence. “Smart speakers” like Amazon Alexa or Dot, Google Home, or Apple’s HomePod, even Sonos whole-home entertainment systems are putting us more “in touch” with our technology. We talk to devices, and expect a response. Still evolving, with a word, this “smart” technology controls lighting, shades, air conditioners, and other devices and appliances. Want to watch the Dolphins on TV or need that recipe for haddock with lemon and pepper? Just ask.
Smart tech is entrenched in our daily lives. Lifestyle and security products, like the Nest Labs line of automated devices, adjust the home’s temperature, manage “smart” outlets, keep a watchful eye on the perimeter and manage the alarm system. Whether with Nest or from your smartphone, alarms today can be programmed and armed with touch of the iPhone or a spoken command.
The Third Generation of home automation is bringing to life the devices designed to perform chores around the home. A growing line of “robot buddies,” like the iRobot Roomba robot vacuum or the Neato BotVac, turn cleaning into an automated afterthought.
Integrating Technology into Our Lives
The Fourth Generation of smart homes' technology integrates many of these technologies – broadband internet, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the online marketplace – to create a holistic solution. Integration of smart platform systems like our refrigerator, AC, lighting – all controllable from a smartphone or tablet - - is quickly taking root.
If enabled, your refrigerator can sense when products are running low and reorder them via Amazon. Your AC can be programmed to change temperatures throughout the day, and as you walk from room to room. Same for lighting; enter a room, and lights turn on. Leave, and they turn off. Microsoft founder Bill Gates pioneered the modern smart homes – back in 1997. Beyond visionary, Bill was pretty prescient, if you ask me.
This evolution is only accelerating. Homes now are being programmed with “Cat 7” cabling. Category 7 cable will serve the Gigabit Ethernet and deliver performance speeds of up to 600MHz to transfer information around the home and to the router – and the cloud.
Living Like Digital Natives
So, remember that sound of the old AOL dial-up connection? Quaint, huh? It’s something our kids will never understand, like corded phones on the kitchen walls – or VCRs. We may not be “digital natives” like Millennials or Generation Zs. They were born in the 1990s and 2000s straight into the Digital Age.
But if you’re a baby boomer looking to automate your home and South Florida tropical lifestyle, these are exciting times!
Next time, we explore more deeply the impact artificial intelligence has on the home, now and in the future. In the meantime, if want to learn more about technology and automation, or you’d like a referral to a few vendors who can help turn your Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, or Wilton Manors home into something even Bill Gates may envy, let’s talk…
Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.