Even just 50 years ago, we had grand plans for what the world would look like today. Although we don’t have flying cars, George Jetson’s watch is now available and retails for $549, via Apple, and FaceTime, Skype and the like very closely resemble the Jetsons’ video calls.
And now, our homes can be every bit as Jetson as 1962’s view of 2062. They may not hover, but today’s homes sure pack a tech punch.
“In the past several years, we’ve seen an explosion of ‘smart’ products,” says Cale Kliethermes of Kliethermes Homes & Remodeling Inc. “Most recently, we’re seeing products ‘talk’ across brands, so we have true integration.
“No longer does one company have to create every product for a home,” Kliethermes continues. “They’re working together to specialize in their own wheelhouse but truly create an integrated home.”
Brian Christensen with Christensen Homes has also seen the smart home trend grow.
“Home automation has gone crazy lately,” he says. “With what’s available on the market, you can do just about anything. People love doing stuff remotely.”
Michael McClaren of Tiger Security Service says some of the most tech-forward trends he’s seeing help to create a more connected home, “like door locks and control light switches and thermostats from a smartphone from anywhere.”
“People are putting a lot more thought into their home than we’ve seen previously, especially when it comes to final touches,” says Felicia Tompkins, office manager and design consultant for Tompkins Construction. “Our clients who are a little more tech savvy are getting really excited about the possibilities of this technology.”
2016 or 2062?
Despite an ever-increasing interest in smart home features, particularly those that improve energy efficiency, Mike Imhoff of Imhoff Foundation Co. LLC says many of his customers haven’t been asking for these newfangled features.
“Most of that tech is probably aimed at homes that cost half a million or more,” Imhoff says. “They like those new gadgets, and they can afford them.” Imhoff focuses on homes in the 1,500- to 1,700-square-foot range.
Kliethermes says though they haven’t built any new homes that are fully integrated, he continues to see smart products integrated into their remodel projects.
“Some people are more open to the idea than others, but we’re finding more and more people are recognizing the advantages of these types of products and becoming more open to them…” he says. “But we still have a high number of people who are a little skittish of these changes in technology.”
Jeremy Spillman of Spillman Contracting has a different take.
“I think rising cost of everyday materials, like lumber and shingles, have stalled customers wanting to spend the extra money on smart homes,” he says. “I love the idea, but it seems to fall too low on the priority list to get added by your average customer.”
And that’s exactly who’s driving the bus/flying car/Delorean toward the future, Christensen says. “It’s usually the homeowners who keep up on all the new stuff coming out.”
“Most contractors would be known as late adopters,” Kliethermes says. “[Just a few years ago], if they had a notebook instead of writing on a 2-by-4, they were advanced.”
However, every contractor, from Kliethermes to Spillman to Christensen, is ready to help outfit your home of the future. Whether this technology becomes mainstream by 2016 or 2062, one thing is for certain. This story is sure to have you saying: “Goodbye Joneses. Hello, Jetsons.”