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What’s the definition of a ‘smart home?’

Coldwell Banker and CNET set parameters on the label to help homeowners make better tech buying decisions
  • Coldwell Banker and CNET teamed up to create a definition for a smart home.
  • The definition came out of a need for agents to have a clear understanding of what a smart home is, and help consumers make better buying decisions for their home.
  • To be qualified as a smart home, a property at least must have an internet connection and a smart security or smart temperature system.

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On May 10, Coldwell Banker announced its partnership with CNET, one of the most popular and trusted technology news and reviews sites, to create a joint definition of the term “smart home.”

Sean Blankenship, Coldwell Banker’s chief marketing officer, says the partnership came from a multitude of requests from agents about how to properly define a smart home to homebuyers and sellers.

“It led us to a quick conclusion that we needed to get ahead of this and understand it,” says Blankenship. From there, Coldwell Banker searched for an expert in the technology field and decided to partner with CNET, since it is the go-to source for many consumers as they make buying decisions.

CNET set up a home in Louisville, Kentucky, to be “the smartest home the world,” by installing and testing a number of appliances, apps, and tools.

“That [the smart home] really laid the foundation for really understanding technology, understanding how technology works together, understanding technology platforms, understanding how we interact with technology on a daily basis,” says Blankenship.

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A unified approach

After the testing concluded, Coldwell Banker and CNET decided a smart home is a “home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.”

“In order to be categorized as a smart home, the property must have a smart security feature that either controls access or monitors the property or a smart temperature feature, in addition to a reliable Internet connection.”

Additionally, the home must have at least two features from this list.

  • Appliances (smart refrigerators and smart washer/dryers)
  • Entertainment (smart TVs and TV streaming services)
  • Heating/Cooling (smart HVAC system, smart fans or vents)
  • Lighting (smart light bulbs and lighting systems)
  • Outdoors (smart plant sensors and watering systems)
  • Safety (smart fire/carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights)
  • Security (smart locks, smart alarm systems or cameras)
  • Temperature (smart thermostats)

A constant state of change

Coldwell Banker and CNET hope that this definition will help agents and most importantly, homeowners, sellers and buyers, make the best decisions for their current and future homes.

“The term ‘smart home’ can be intimidating and overwhelming. We want to make it easy for everyone to better understand what a smart home is, in order to simplify the process in helping them choose the right devices for their homes,” said Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET.com in a press release.

“Smart home technology today is fragmented, much like the PC industry 15 years ago. An official smart home definition for consumers and real estate agents will provide clarity and credibility to the term.”

As they look to the future, Blankenship says the definition will likely change soon due to the rapid progression in tech tools. He anticipates that within the next 12–18 months, voice-controlled technology, as seen in Apple’s Siri, will become the next must-have for tech-savvy consumers.

Email Marian McPherson.

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