Coronavirus may have stunted consumer spending, but despite decreases in economic activity, smart home revenues continued to grow in 2020, and experts at ABI Research call for a 5% increase by 2026. The smart home market is expected to top $317 billion in revenue. Jonathan Collins, Smart Home Research Director at ABI Research, calls the pandemic “a double-edged sword for the smart home industry.”
“While the immediate impact may be negative, many of the long-term and structural changes to consumer lives initiated in 2020 will have a lasting positive impact that will help to drive adoption in many areas of the smart home space,” Collins predicts.
Smart home usage is up 33% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s not difficult to see why. The remote capability of smart home technology provides modern convenience, combining increased security with improved efficiency around the home.
“Home digital wellness comes to the forefront in a COVID-economy, one where technologies will help workers become more productive,” says Robb Hecht, Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Baruch College in New York City. “With the rise of Alexa, we already see home automation has grown immensely over the past years.”
COVID-19 has forced Americans to scrutinize their health more and encouraged many to invest in additional measures to protect themselves and their families.
Healthy and connected homes
When social distancing became the norm, smart home tech was there to deliver, ready to automate our lives with IoT, or the Internet of Things. Thanks to IoT innovation, there is an entire wireless network of autonomous devices available to homeowners that are all meant to simplify day-to-day life while saving you money.
Smart home tech has several health benefits many might not recognize. For example, smart thermostats can maintain humidity levels in the home, reducing the spread of coronavirus particles, while smart door locks and video doorbells provide the typical security benefits and minimize contact with strangers at the door.
It can save you considerable money on your home insurance, too, with many home insurance providers offering smart home discounts due to the minimized risk of damage.
“You can save up to 20% on homeowners insurance premiums by purchasing security systems, smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, and other safety devices. These devices can make your home safer and help you seek compensation in case you need to file a claim,” says Kristen Bolig, Founder of SecurityNerd. According to Dexter Grima, founder and CEO of VitaBright, the idea of wellness as a new amenity “or real estate category” is gaining traction due to emerging knowledge about health and indoor air pollution.
“Just as in the green building movement, some organizations and builders have attempted to create checklists for certification,” adds Grima.
Companies like Delos, a wellness real estate brand, are accelerating smart home tech solutions and focusing on improving resident’s wellness. Features like dawn simulation for better sleep and lighting programming to stimulate productivity and enhance focus are part of the Delos technology portfolio.
South Florida’s incoming Villa Valencia condominiums are also changing real estate with 39 units that promise “hospital-grade air, energizing light and pollutant-free water to protect from contaminants, free radicals and aging.” It also makes use of Delo’s custom home wellness technology, the Darwin system, to combat environmental pollutants.
Top Health and Wellness Tech at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021
Some of the very best smart home tech developments are displayed each year at the Consumer Technology Association’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With coronavirus at the forefront of everyone’s minds, CES showcased a focus on touchless tech for the home with a renewed look at health and wellness. Touchless doorbells, faucets, and toilets all made an appearance, as well as advanced air purifiers and filters.
These are just a few of the many upcoming products we have to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.
- Kohler’s Touchless Bathroom Faucet: Works based on your choice of either external or built-in sensors, and its Touchless Toilet, which also uses sensors and features LED lights.
- HealthyU: a seven-lead ECG, temperature sensor, pulse oximeter, and microphone in one device with heart rate and blood pressure monitoring and automatic mobile reports to your doctor.
- Omron VitalSight: Measures your blood pressure and automatically sends readings to your doctor.
- Philips Sonicare Prestige 9900 Toothbrush: Uses sensors to detect how well you brush your teeth with automatic pressure adjustment, so you don’t brush too hard.
- iSyncWave: Works as your own portable electroencephalogram (EEG) at home, measuring your brain’s electrical activity to detect neurological disorders like epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
- The Nobi Lamp: detects falls, and if you don’t verbally respond to the check-in, it will automatically summon emergency help.
- LG’s InstaView Refrigerator: This appliance will include an hourly UV sanitizer, removing 99.99% of the bacteria that naturally accumulates in your refrigerator’s water dispenser.
- Olly: This gadget is designed to mimic the sun’s light during the day to help wake you up and provide dimmer evening light at the end of the day to signal your brain it’s time to sleep.
Home wellness tech features for 2021
While many of the products advertised at CES are still in development, there are several that are currently available and can make all the difference in maintaining and preserving your health during COVID-19 and well beyond. Today’s healthy habits can help deliver a better tomorrow.
Average costs: $50 – $2,500
From smart beds and mattresses to bed cooling and heating aids, there are many types of technology to help improve your quality of sleep.
Popular products: Phillips SmartSleep, Casper, Lumie Bodyclock LUXE, Sound+Sleep
Average costs: $60 – $3,000
Smart water purifiers can filter your water for harmful materials, such as bacteria, antibiotics and heavy metals.
Popular products: Filter Smart, Epic Water Filters
Infrared and Home Sensors
Average costs: $50- $500
These sensors detect motion, turning on and off devices and automatically adjusting your settings based on your preferences.
Popular products: Minut Smart Home Sensor, Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor, Phillips Hue Smart Motion Sensor
Average costs: $100 – $500
These sensors help track irregular movements in the home, detecting if you fall and alerting medical professionals for help.
Popular products: Fibaro Motion Sensor, Sonoff Motion Sensor, Onvis Motion Sensor
Smart Pill Dispensers
Average costs: $50 – $100
This IoT device automatically tracks and manages your pill prescriptions, dispensing the correct dosage and ordering refills when needed.
Popular products: Med-E-Lert Automatic Pill Dispensers, e-Pill MedTime Station, Hero Health
Air Quality Sensors
Average costs: $150 – $1,500
As we spend more time at home, air quality sensors can help monitor, filter, and purify the recirculated air around you.
Popular products: AirVisual, CleanSpace Tag, Awair
Smart Lighting Technology
Average costs: $20 – $60 per bulb
Smart lighting can do everything from increasing productivity to improving your sleep with features like remote control lighting, an energy-efficient design and even circadian lighting.
Popular products: Wyze Bulb, Phillips Hue White Floodlight LED, Lutron Caseta In-Wall Dimmer Switch
UV Disinfectant Lights
Average costs: $100 – $400
With extra attention to germs because of COVID-19, UV disinfectant lights can be installed or in portable form to help you keep your home sterile and germ-free.
Popular products: The Apollo Smart UV, VeriClean Portable UVC Wand
Health Monitoring Systems
Average costs: $50 – $350
This type of wearable tech monitors your vitals and can send automatic notifications to your medical professional when it detects something wrong.
Popular Products: Apple Series 6 Watch, Withings Move ECG, Omron Healthcare HeartGuide
Assistive Living Robots
Average costs: Varies
This is truly the wave of the future with robots helping seniors with meals, tracking appointments, and providing social companionship.
Popular product: Pillo Health
Health monitoring and aging in place
There’s perhaps no other group that can benefit more from smart home tech than seniors, particularly those aging in place at home.
Excessive wait times can discourage up to 42% of patients from visiting a doctor, but as Plextek notes in its study, “The Future of Connected Home Health,” IoT is providing care beyond the 9-5 timeline. The 2016 study discusses the need for more cohesive smart home devices, which we see evolving in 2021.
“Our health outcomes are intimately tied to where and how we live,” explains Grima. “Today’s nascent industry, inspired by new research and empowered by new and more affordable technology, is attempting to set standards.” As developments continue, it will be exciting to see what new benefits home wellness technology will deliver.
Opening the doors to wellness technology
Guidehouse Insights expects the smart home market to surpass $108 billion by 2029. “As consumers increasingly put home and eCommerce at the center of their lives, home wellness will be the most important avenue for brands to make an impact on improving their customers’ lives,” adds Hecht.
“And, as Amazon leads reach into the digital home, we’ll increasingly see startups and services arise in the home wellness platform economies arena.”
We are only just now beginning to grasp the benefits that can come from smart home tech. Still, there’s no denying that coronavirus has hastened the process, changing the face of the digital revolution while forcing improvements in our homes that will benefit our families long after the virus has passed.