How Smart Is Your Home?

Smart Home Williamsburg VAInitially, it was simply a case of “being tired of having to deal with three or four remotes.” One was for a receiver, another for the DVD and a couple to handle the attributes of today’s smart televisions.

There had to be a better way to deal with the electronic clutter.

Rolf Kramer of Williamsburg decided to do something about it.

“Just consolidating the remotes was great,” says Kramer, whose vision ultimately led him to the creation of a service called Home Automation Technology for Seniors, or simply put, HATS. “The concept has evolved into much more than dealing with remotes.”

Now it is all about having a Smart Home. Electronic automation is becoming one of the “hot” topics when it comes to our homes. Everything from having your refrigerator tell you what you might need to pick up at the store to greeting your neighbors at the front door when you are sitting several states away is on the table.

No end is in sight.

According to an article posted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the global home automation market may be worth more than $121.73 billion by 2020. Smart Home hub systems are available to manage multiple functions through a centralized interface that can be accessed on a user’s smartphone or tablet. They want smart home devices for many reasons, but security and energy management are among the most significant.

This trend is being noticed by both home owners and renters.

Something as simple as the ability to check to see if you remembered to close the garage door when you left home is nice in itself. “It is so nice to be able to check on the phone for things like the garage door,” adds Kramer, a former real estate agent who was often asked for assistance in the field of technology by the industry’s local association.

“Amazon and Google are giants in the smart home device industry and they are constantly coming out with things to give you more and more control of what is going on around your home.”

Communication, lights, wall plugs, heating and cooling sensors, automated kitchen appliances, security and everything energy are just part of the grand scheme of having a Smart Home.

“You can go on and on with the number of devices that can be controlled when you have Wi-Fi,” says Kramer, “but the important thing is knowing or understanding what you do you have, or learning about the possibilities.”

Many seniors are dealing with just the tip of the iceberg, and that is where Kramer and others like him come into the picture. He is more than happy to give a free consultation.

“I’m glad to sit down and offer my advice on what needs or could be done. This isn’t about the money. It is more about the possibilities.”

Voice technology is focused on spoken commands, such as asking an Amazon Echo or Google Home Mini about the weather. It gives us the ability to use a device without our hands, liberating us from keyboards, touch screens and apps that keep us glued to our smartphones and laptops. And spoken language certainly feels more natural than typing. Such automation can help seniors have more comfortable and safer homes, while hopefully making their lives easier and more enjoyable. They can turn on lights and televisions, change the room temperature, see who is at the door (and let people in) without having to leave their chairs. Seniors can also take advantage of such technology to send messages to family members, friends and care-givers.

“You could go on and on about what it available today,” concludes Kramer, “the possibilities are endless.”

He could have added the word: Exciting.

NAR offers real estate designations for Smart Homes. Articles are provided on the Association’s web site. And, as they say in the internet world, you can always “Google it” to find out more about having a Smart Home.

If you have questions, and would like to connect with Rolf Kramer, contact Williamsburg Realty for a brochure.

Written by Sam Mayo, GM, Associate Broker, Williamsburg Realty