While the Internet and computing has changed our lives in many ways over the past few decades, there are still many old-school consumer industries that have largely managed to stay the same.
But all that is about to change. Low cost sensors, fast-tracked product development and the rapid growth of smartphone apps and cloud computing are all combing to foment a smart home revolution that will create alternatives to incumbent products and services most of us rely on every day.
Here are four examples of industries already being turned on their head.
Last summer while I was away for a day, my house flooded due to a plumbing leak. While I was lucky enough to have good insurance, my insurance company wasn’t so lucky and in the end shelled out $25 thousand and change for repairs and restoration.
Imagine if I (and the insurance company) had the benefit of knowing immediately about the leak. It was slow enough that early deterrence could have avoided most of the damage and saved my insurance company a boatload of money (and likely resulted in lower premiums for me in the future).
As it turns out, with the smart home technology available today, the majority of damage could have been avoided. By installing low cost moisture sensors under sinks and near other places like toilets, I could have known almost immediately if we have a smart phone app connected to our smart home network.
Insurance companies are already beginning to take notice, including my own. Just last week I got a mailer from State Farm offering me a discount on an Iris smart home system.
Too late, Iris. I’m already using a SmartThings moisture sensor.
No one can avoid aging, and at some point in everyone’s life they need to make tough decisions about their own parents or face possibly losing their own independence due to age-related disabilities.
The inevitability of aging has led to what is a quarter trillion dollar elder care business in the US alone. The reason it’s such a big business is it’s costly to pay for live-in care or elder care facilities, but with new smart home options, there is a chance many elderly can delay something more drastic like live-in care or a retirement home.
Essence, a company based in Israel, has developed Care@Home, a smart home solution targeted at elder-care. Other solutions are also coming to market, and with rapid innovation around wearables, I expect we’ll see significant advancement that will put us light years ahead of the olden days of “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up“.
As I wrote last week, the old school home security and monitoring business may in for the biggest change of all. The home security and monitoring industry that hasn’t been able to bust beyond 20% market penetration, in part because most consumers don’t want to pay high installation fees, sign an annual contract and pay $50 a month.
But nearly 100% of consumers want to feel safe, and with new low-cost, self-installable home security options coming to market, new consumers scared off by expensive contracts and up front costs may now have an option. And sure, some will always want home monitoring, but even self-installable offerings like Canary are already making plans to offer their customers 24-hour call center monitoring for an extra fee.
If you’re like me, you’ve often felt those pangs of guilt leaving your dog or cat at home alone when you leave for work or for a long weekend. Like many, we’ve taken to using kennels for overnight stays because to make sure our pets were ok.
But now, there’s a good chance you can leave Fido home alone without having a friend check in or paying for a kennel. New smart home platforms can help you monitor your pet, and tailored smart home solutions that can feed or keep you up to date on the minute-by-minute wellness of your dog may be an option that could help you give your pet greater independence and you can save some money on pet care.