October 01, 2020
And why you should consider it, too.
From smart heating to smart security, we're upgrading our homes with technology that provides safety, convenience and peace of mind.In an uncertain year, the home has become a vital refuge. Home improvement projects are booming as Americans seek to not only make their homes more comfortable, but safer and more connected for online activities, including work, shopping, exercise and self-care.
For many, that has meant investing in smart home technology to streamline everyday household tasks and secure the home itself. Over 40 million smart home systems have been installed in North America alone — and in the next few years, connected home devices for entertainment, security and convenience are on track to become even more widespread.
Safety in Distancing
Social distancing requirements have helped fuel families' growing interest in devices like smart locks and smart cameras.
An internet-connected camera mounted at the front door, for example, can be used to monitor for deliveries, allowing those inside to confirm safe receipt without putting at risk themselves or delivery couriers. Cox's Homelife Security cameras can continuously record based on motion detection, streaming the live video feed to a smartphone or tablet app so that users can easily see when someone has arrived.
Smart locks offer a similar convenience for self-isolating or vulnerable folks. Cox smart door locks, for example, work with a smartphone app to enable remote unlocking of the front door, allowing groceries and online shopping to be easily and safely dropped off. This means that people can minimize how much they interact with “high-touch" surfaces like doorknobs and locks, which can be especially important in shared houses.
Command of the Home
Minimizing how often home appliances have to be touched can help maintain household hygiene — and voice-enabled technology is useful here.
Where the TV remote might traditionally attract plenty of attention from channel surfers, Cox's voice remote can be activated with a single button press, then commanded to change channels, adjust volume and scan for programs. Instead of everyone in the home touching the light switches or adjusting the heating, smart lights and smart thermostats work with voice control, allowing users to simply ask for their desired temperature or brightness.
Of course, convenience remains a significant motivator for smart home investments. During lockdown, some three in four of U.S. adults reported a substantial increase in how often they asked their smart speakers for news and music instead of manually searching these out themselves. And when it comes to creating an instant ambiance for movie nights or a home Pilates session, it's hard to beat simply asking the house to dim or brighten, warm or cool.
Users can also program smart lights with other smart home devices to automate daily routines and save some time. For example, Cox Smart LED Bulbs can be set to automatically brighten in the morning as the Homelife thermostat kicks in.
(Smart) Safety First
A smarter home can also help provide enhanced peace of mind — and security. Systems like Cox Homelife, for example, offer security monitoring as well as a touchscreen that controls the home's smart lighting, locks and other features, offering the ease of use and ease-of-install that those surveyed cite as crucial.
Once set up, footage captured by the internet-connected cameras can be accessed with the smartphone app for easy viewing, and work with motion and room sensors to activate alarms or video recording to warn of a potential breach. Users can even DIY a video doorbell by pairing a front door security camera with a motion sensor, in order to receive video alerts on their phones when someone is at the door.
During times of higher anxiety and stress, other smart home devices can help reduce uncertainties, too. Smart locks can be set to automatically lock each night. Smart lights, set to randomly turn on and off when no one's home, can help deter burglars, while smart thermostats can optimize based on your preferred heating and cooling temperatures, adjusting at various times of the day to help with cost savings.
Information about the home — from its smart cameras, locks, lights and thermostat — is readily available in a single dedicated app to assure people their home is safe, whether they're in or away.
As the world settles into a new normal, many of us are reassessing how to optimize our homes to facilitate face-to-face connections that are more remote, yet no less rich. Smart home technology can help make home a space that's productive, creative, social and safe — and worth investing in.