Ask a Broker: The importance of smart-home technology | Business


Question: How important is technology in the modern home?

Answer: Smart-home technology is nothing new, but it’s constantly changing and evolving. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a broker is to understand technology evolves so fast, it’s literally impossible to know what the future holds.

Smart-home technology (or home automation) has been around a long time, but with internet connectivity and rapidly evolving wireless technology, the good news is you don’t have to be super tech savvy to understand how to operate smart-home technology these days. Almost any device in your home can be monitored and controlled through the use of an app. Current ­smart-home applications are controlled lighting, digital doorbells and door locks, home security, home theater and smart thermostats — but the possibilities are truly endless.

That said, your home’s network is going to be the most important component of making sure everything runs seamlessly. That’s especially important in the mountains, where high-speed connectivity is not something to be taken for granted.

It’s important to hire a home technology specialist to make sure your network is built properly and can support and integrate a wide variety of devices that can be monitored from your iPhone. The goal with all smart-home technology is to provide instant response and instant resolve, remotely. Whether you’re talking about water detection, motion alerts or unsafe temperatures, the overall comfort and security comes from being able to manage whatever is going on in your home when you’re not there. With all this new technology, it’s important that you begin by creating a network that can support that.

Make sure your technology expert can create one display on one app that provides 100% ­functionality: the state of your windows, music, temperature, lights, movement, sauna, washer and dryer and more.

In terms of the most current technology trends, modern homes will typically have discreet audio-visual set-ups and other equipment. That means hiding things like speakers, TVs, even wall switches and thermostats so everything in a room is very seamless. It’s a common trend in newer homes with modern architecture. There are no switches or control panels on the wall anymore; everything is on one screen.

Streaming TV also is a big trend right now; it enables you to watch TV through your existing providers from any device no matter where you are, whether it’s on an iPad at the airport or at home in your living room. You’re no longer paying for a cable box.

For second-home owners, things like digital doorbells and door locks that enable homeowners to self-police their property even if they’re not there are key. Cameras alert homeowners upon arrival that someone is at their door and they’ll get an alert for when they leave. It gives you a sense of security to know what transpires at your home and to have the ability to respond. That’s especially helpful for managing subcontractors remotely.

It’s also important for safety reasons. Say a door is left open, and it’s cold outside. Once your house hits 50 degrees, you or your property management team can be alerted. When it comes to having that security from afar, today’s ­smart-home technology definitely gives a new meaning to the term “remote control.”

Shilo Bartlett is a real estate agent in the Roaring Fork Valley and a board member of the GWS Board of Realtors. She also is part of the commercial and entrepreneurial division of Slifer Smith & Frampton. She can be reached at

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