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A Connected-Home Approach for Major Life Milestones

Daniel Hersocvici, General Manager and Senior Vice President , Xfinity Home, Comcast

There’s little doubt that 2017 brought with it a lot of innovation and promise of growth for the connected home and the Internet-of-things (IoT). We started the year with the “best of” in connected-home at CES 2017 and followed the show with a gangbuster prediction by Boston Consulting Group that the IoT market will reach $267 billion by 2020. As we close out the year and look toward CES 2018, it’s only fitting to gaze into our industry’s crystal ball and discuss the possible breakout technologies.

Instead of just highlighting the sexiest gadgets and gizmos designed for early adopters, I thought it would be interesting to explore how consumers at various life stages can and will unlock connected experiences and make their homes “smarter” this coming year.  

Upgrading Your New Home

I recently spoke with my friends at home-warranty company American Home Shield, who said the number-one thing that consumers forget to do when buying a new home is re-key their door locks. Faced with the hassle of connecting utilities, conducting inspections and deep cleaning – not to mention the excitement of moving in – the need to replace door locks (keys may still be in the possession of multiple previous owners and workers) can slip your mind.

This is the perfect time to upgrade your experience by installing the latest connected locks and garage-door openers, like Kwikset or Otto, but as PCMag put it, “keys are so 20th century.”

In addition, if you’re having an electrician in for minor work, consider swapping out old school light switches to smart switches. While that can be an intimidating endeavor for some new homeowners, it adds a small amount of time to an electrician’s visit. I recommend prioritizing the rooms where you entertain or dine everyday so you can create dinner mood lighting easily or set up the family room to watch a movie at the tap of an app. For a few extra bucks, you can swap most of them out and never forget a light is on in a back bedroom ever again.

Bringing the First Bundle of Joy Home

Quite possibly the most joyful and stressful time in any family’s life is introducing the newest member to the household and ensuring that the home is baby proof. As soon-to-be parents are planning everything from the newborn’s bedroom color to safeguarding potential hazards from growing toddlers, it is really worth considering a connected-home strategy. One of the coolest solutions for parents is Nanit, a video-powered baby monitor that includes impressive functionality like a sleep tracker and a temperature gauge. For those whose bundle of joy is a brand new pet, an indoor connected camera to keep an eye on your new puppy while you are away can help make you feel connected even when you are working in the office.

Caring For Our Elders

With the growing desire for our elder family members to stay independent longer, you may want to consider connected-home technology to help keep everyone safe and enhance peace of mind. The over-65 generation is expected to represent more than 21 percent of our population by 2040, and approximately 12 million seniors will need long-term care by 2020.

The areas that matter for elder care are reasonably simple, life-sustaining activities like eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom and promoting more safe movement and exercise. Yet, as we all know, these things aren’t as easy for our beloved older family members. Simultaneously, with our lives becoming more and more complex with busier work and family lives, you’re never able to be with them as often as you would prefer. Luckily, the connected-home market has responded with an array of technologies to assist in care.

From smart mattresses and pads that monitor sleep patterns to bathroom sensors that can detect changes (which could be leading indicators of a potentially serious health issue), these connected products allow us to better care for our aging relatives and help make their everyday life more comfortable. A very interesting player in this arena is HoneyCo, a startup that uses a series of sensors to send important data to a smartphone app dashboard.

The bottom line is that everyone should use the important life cycle stages to consider upgrading their homes to connected homes. And, it’s not something that is only for the early adopters. That’s the beauty of IoT and connected home, especially as we look toward CES. It is becoming more and more of a reality for the average family each year. 

These life stages will be one of the topics we will discuss on a panel at this year’s FamilyTech Summit at CES. The panel, named “Turn Your Ordinary Home Into a Smart One: Minimize Pain and Maximize Gain,” will include experts from Techstars, STRATIS and myself. It will be moderated by leading smart-home journalist Stacey Higginbotham who will guide our discussion about the latest trends for a true connected-home experience. It’s an honor to sit with the excellent group we have assembled, and I look forward to seeing what else CES 2018  will bring to the digital home.

Daniel Hersocvici is general manager and senior vice president of Xfinity Home, the total home security and home automation solution from Comcast. He will speak on the Entertaining and Parenting Mobile Natives conference session during the “Ordinary Homes Become Smart: Minimize Pain/Maximize Gain” panel at the Kids@Play and FamilyTech Summit, a one-day conference  track that looks at the way families and kids interact with technology. Join industry experts and pioneers on Wednesday, January 10 during CES 2018 at the Venetian, Level 4, Lando 4302. See the full agenda and register here. Follow the FamilyTech Summit on Twitter and with #FamilyTech. Follow the Kids@Play Summit on Twitter and with #KidsatPlay.

Follow the entire CES conversation at #CES2018.