The 3rd annual TecHome Summit took place December 7th – 9th in Ft. Worth TX, and Rex and I attended along with hundreds of building professionals from across the US. The 48 hour conference was jam packed with dozens of presentations, panel discussions, and product demonstrations, as well as some after hours networking opportunities.
The central theme of the TecHome Summit this year was lifestyle enhancement: How can home technology elevate our lifestyle without further complicating things? In the past this has been a tough question to answer, as home control and automation technology often involved more than a few remotes, hardware systems, and IT professionals to manage. When home tech from yesteryear malfunctions many homeowners find it easier to bypass and abandon the system rather than hunt down their integrator and schedule a service visit.
These days many home tech companies are hoping to alleviate the obscurity of preprogrammed systems, and have migrated to intuitive, wireless, cloud-based mobile applications for control and automation of A/V systems, security, energy management, lighting, irrigation, and whole home systems. Indeed the cliché of the summit was, “there’s an app for that”. Most niche product companies are also working on interoperability so that different apps and systems can talk to each other, and integrate within a larger whole home system like Control4, Lutron, and Savant.
The result is that almost all home electronic products that have traditionally been controlled by “dumb” switches can now be plug ‘n play, Wi-Fi communicating, mobile app controllable smart devices: light bulbs, motion sensors, thermostats, door locks, window shades, garage doors, ovens; you name it! They are being designed for retrofit applications so that existing homes without a smart wiring system and whole home automation system can still enjoy the benefits of mobile app control and scheduling.
We were interested in the newest trends that are emerging such as VR, voice control, artificial intelligence, and intuitive whole home automation systems. How humans interact with and leverage technology in our daily lives is going to rapidly change over the next 10 years, and it was incredible to gain a glimpse of it at the summit. We don’t want to reveal too many details of what’s in the pipeline, but know that some amazing unseen lifestyle enhancing products will find their way into the model home at Avalaire. Speaking of which, have you cast your vote for the naming of the model home? Please give us your feedback!
The TecHome Summit was an inspirational learning experience for both of us, and also a great first visit to Texas for me. When we weren’t being schooled on the latest and greatest home tech, we were venturing into underground jazz clubs and shooting rounds of 8 ball with some of our fellow builders from the National Custom Builders Council including Terry Cudmore of Cudmore Builders, John Brink of Brink Custom Homes, and John Holehouse of Holehouse Construction Company. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with you guys!
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