Aging in place has now become an official term in the home building industry, described by The Center for Disease Control as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”
But what about the little ones? Here at TecHome Builder, we have coined a new phrase, “raising in place.” It focuses on the best tech and home automation for families, especially those with young children.
Considering smart home implementation is highest among Millennials, many of whom are currently reaching the age where they are beginning to form families and raise children, now is the time for builders to strongly focus on the idea of raising in place.
“’Raising in place.’ I like that. It has a nice ring to it,” says Chad Williams, chief operating officer at Pepper Viner Homes, who went on to enthusiastically make suggestions as to how builders can integrate this concept into their building projects for families.
“We’ve already embraced the smart locks for our homes, but how about child locks for everything inside of the home? This will add an element of safety,” says Williams.
He says another way for the children to be safe is by placing door chimes or electronic sensors around the house, especially in areas that lead outdoors. “Once the kids start moving, you’re going to want to keep track of them,” he adds.
Smart Home Scalability
Not every client you build for is going to apply to the concept of raising in place.
However, if you’re building for a single client or a newly married couple, odds are they may be starting a family within the first five years of owning their home. This is something that should be taken into consideration, and Tod Schneller, district manager of Elevati, Inc., has a suggestion. He calls it “scalability.”
“I feel builders need to focus on ensuring all homes have a solid foundation for incorporating smart technology and, more importantly, that it is scalable,” he says. Elevati accomplishes scalability with Savant’s new Smart Host that allows for a scalable platform a client can grow into.
Technology required upon moving in will be vastly different than technology needed years down the line, especially as the industry evolves and families grow.
“Being scalable is important, as some homeowners don’t need every bell and whistle right now. It is important, however, to be able to add on later as their needs and requirements change over time,” says Schneller.
Monitor, Entertain and Customize
Schneller makes additional suggestions as to how builders can help parents integrate tech that will best help them monitor and entertain their little ones.
“We recently completed a project where having a night vision camera in the baby’s room was extremely important to the client in the safety of their newborn over that of a simple baby monitor,” says Schneller.
He adds that builders can help implement entertainment packages that promote kid-friendly entertainment while filtering out things that may be inappropriate for them. Furthermore, Schneller states that customizing all these devices is key for families as kids continue to grow older and mature.
“We haven’t come across any specific devices or solutions that can’t be customized depending on the ages of children in a home,” says Schneller.
“A huge benefit to the integrated systems we design is the ability for a homeowner to have complete control.”
This element of customized control will allow the smart home to age with those who occupy it and help create “raising in place” options for families who see a future in both their homes and their children.