Chris Kerr, VP of home & distribution at Clipsal by Schneider, explains why the average ‘smart home’ in Australia just isn’t that clever.
Despite the promise that the Internet of Things would seamlessly connect technology throughout our homes and buildings, it’s only now that we’re starting to see its potential being realised.
Home automation is set to become the key to consumers’ understanding, control, and improvement of their energy consumption. However, to truly empower homeowners we need to support technology that goes beyond smart speakers and ‘plug and play’ options.
When it comes to ‘green’ technology, Australians are mostly interested in devices that provide a lifestyle benefit. Collectively, we are visibly taking small steps in the direction of home automation. It's no surprise that smart speakers in particular, are driving home automation adoption with 26 per cent of Australians owning a Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, or similar product, and accounting for a 53 per cent increase year on year.
These products are vital to engaging homeowners in the technological advancement of their houses. However, without connection to functions such as lighting and air conditioning they fall short of the lifestyle and financial benefits offered by true home automation, while running the risk of becoming a gimmick.
While a possible part of the solution, these devices are limited unless they are incorporated into a system that offers a backbone for whole of home automation. It is important that affordable and accessible technologies that help visualise energy usage and creation enter the consumer market.
By educating consumers about the current and future benefits of these devices, such as connecting solar panels, photovoltaic batteries, and electric vehicle chargers, whole home automation will become more appealing to the everyday Australian - helping us create ‘greener’ homes across the country.
High-end options including C-Bus have offered this connectivity for luxury homes for a number of years. Now, mass market adoption is set to ramp up with the launch of a new, affordable, and scalable system, Clipsal Wiser Smart Home. It is the opportunity for middle Australia to control everything from lighting to automated blinds from a single app. And electricians are in a unique position to help homeowners understand the impact a smart home can have on their lifestyle, energy efficiency, and back pocket.
Most importantly, smart homes also have the potential to benefit more than their occupants. In fact, the adoption of this technology within the home will help propel Australia toward a carbon-neutral future.
With the global ambition to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we are seeing businesses all around the world begin to implement strategic and bold sustainability initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint, and a desire from homeowners to do the same.
While this goal is more targeted globally towards corporations and large-scale buildings, residential smart homes will be key to achieving this.
The future of home automation is here and growing. With it, will come a range of alternatives to the energy draining technologies that have been around for decades.
Today, Australians can control their energy usage from smart lights, temperature sensor enabled blinds, air conditioning, and other electronics via a single app. They can choose what to automate as their needs change via new affordable, scalable systems to create better lifestyles for themselves and a greener, carbon-neutral future for all.
When it comes to ‘green’ technology, Australians are mostly interested in devices that provide a lifestyle benefit.