OP-ED: Proactive vs. Reactive Tech in Connected Home 2.0

OP-ED: Proactive vs. Reactive Tech in Connected Home 2.0

Despite the strides that have been made in the smart, connected home, our devices are still mostly reactive.

But not for long. The Connected Home 2.0 is coming, and it’s going to usher in a whole new paradigm for smart devices.

Connected Home 1.0

Today’s smart homes contain an impressive array of devices from security cameras to light bulbs. Although they can be accessed from your phone or told to turn on or off at a set schedule, these devices are essentially just remote-controlled. While they provide a great introduction to the home of the future, they aren’t proactive solutions.

Lutron Product PhotographyTapping a button on your phone is fundamentally different from having a device that learns your behaviors to improve your experience.

As the smart home develops and the “Internet of Things” expands into more areas of our lives, the inevitable next step is for products to start “thinking” about their users.

This is called “proactive intelligence.” The reactive intelligence that is prevalent today gives builders and homeowners a glimpse of what could be possible but doesn’t explain the benefits of a smart home to more than a niche audience of early adopters and tech enthusiasts.

In some cases, the experience of controlling devices from your phone can be even more cumbersome than controlling their “dumb” predecessors. Devices truly become intelligent when they not only take our inputs but also start to learn what our inputs say about how we prefer to use them.

Work TogetherMoving to a More Proactive Home

A handful of proactive solutions are already available and addressing fundamental needs of homeownership. The Nest learning thermostat and Protect smoke and CO monitor are the most recognizable.

They take in hundreds of data points ranging from presence to temperature to learn a homeowner’s preferences and regulate themselves and the home accordingly. In home security, Canary’s motion sensors track your comings and goings to make your home more secure. RainMachine has built a smart sprinkler system that collects online weather data to create watering schedules.

Keen Home, which recently appeared on Shark Tank, is a big believer in the importance of proactive solutions. Our smart vents are built to not just open and close when instructed to but also to learn a homeowner’s heating and cooling preferences and the nuances of their HVAC system. Armed with this information, our smart vents automatically regulate the temperature of a home, helping homeowners save money on their energy bills by only heating and cooling the rooms as needed.

Related story: It’s Raining Savings with Automated Sprinkers

Builders and HVAC professionals are excited about what proactive solutions such as smart vents mean for their customers. Josh Thomson, CEO of Thomson AC in Long Beach, Calif., says he is looking forward to helping his clients proactively control their comfort without the need for a full zoning retrofit.

“Keen Home’s smart vents will provide a wonderful way for my customers to control each individual climate need throughout their home, without breaking the bank,” Thomson says.

Smart vents give homeowners control over specific rooms and learn the homeowner’s unique settings to better meet their needs. By integrating with other smart home devices such as Nest, a homeowner will have a whole-home solution that thinks about them day in and day out.

What’s Next?

Smart Home (Blue)Builders and homeowners alike are waking up to the benefits of retrofitting old homes and building new ones with intelligence in mind.

With the Connected Home 2.0 right around the corner, there will soon be more ways to add intelligence to the home in more meaningful ways than were previously possible. As homeowners consider their next home renovation project and builders look for new ways to build homes that truly stand out to buyers, proactive smart home solutions will undoubtedly be at the top of the list.

After all, a home that thinks about you gives you more time to focus on the things that truly matter. We can all get behind that.

Watch Keen Home on Shark Tank

Nate Padgett Keen HomesAbout the Author:
Nate Padgett

Head of Community, Keen Home

Nate is a Bay Area native and Big Apple transplant. He’s passionate about communities online and IRL. He recently joined Keen Home as the Head of Community. He enjoys connecting people and helping them actualize their ideas.

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  1. Nate Padgett

    We’re really excited about the future of smart homes. Builders have a wealth of devices to choose from and they are only getting better. If you have any questions you can find me on Twitter @ngpadgett.


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