We have been saying for years that our homes and buildings are becoming connected—way back when the term used to describe this was AHT (automated home technology). Today, the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), and machine learning are set to change the way buildings communicate—and thus are built.
One example of this that made me pause when I saw the news is a new startup that is creating products to reduce energy consumption and specifically developed a smart outlet powered by AI.
Currant developed the outlet and connected app to enable customers to view a breakdown of their power usage and receive personalized suggestions for taking control of their home and energy bill. Further, users can remotely control and monitor devices and appliances.
It seems others think the concept is a good one as well, as Currant recently raised $7 million in seed funding, and I agree. However, the challenge for any builder or contractor implementing such technology is trying to determine which providers will stay the course. Too often, new startups either struggle or sell off the business, leaving a product not supported. Even more, the connected home and building market is so diluted right now, with a plethora of solutions, that it becomes hard to distinguish which is the leader in the market.
It is a tough call for construction professionals to say the least, but we are seeing some builders and developers having success with constructing smart structures.
For example, Zego, a hub for smarter apartment living, and S2 Capital, a multifamily company, in cooperation with Amazon, extended it smart apartment platform to 30,000 S2 apartment units in the last three years. The technology integrates smart home devices with an app that allows residents to connect with property staff and local services.
It is an interesting development, especially considering nearly one-third of apartment residents own between five and nine Internet-connected devices. It just makes sense to integrate all the smart devices in a unit.
In this case, the units will also include an Amazon Echo, so residents can control locks, lights, thermostats, wall plugs, and more. Soon, users will even be able to communicate with apartment staff, pay rent, and more—simply by using Alexa.
I definitely think this is the way homes and buildings will be headed in the future—it is simply a matter of construction professionals determining which solutions are best for installation in a project.
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