By Toronto Real Estate Board

With every New Year comes the excitement of the release of new technology. Each year we get closer to achieving technological advancements that at one point we didn’t think possible.

Imagine refrigerators that order groceries automatically when it’s low on supplies or a furnace that changes the temperature on demand through your smartphone, when you’re on a business trip. These features sound like something out of a science fiction story. However, there is no need to try to imagine them because they are very much a reality. It’s known as the Internet of Things (IOT) and it’s already being incorporated into smart home technology.

What is IOT?

This concept started with a modified Coke machine in 1982, becoming the first internet-connected appliance. However, IoT didn’t become popular until 1999, when it was conceived at Auto-ID Labs at MIT. Forbes Magazine defines it simply as “the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other).” This machine-to-machine technology, made possible by a wireless network, will allow your toaster, your security system, your garage door and your washing machine to talk to your smartphone, with either operation being done automatically or on command by you. They may also talk to each other for routine tasks without intervention from you.

How it’s Growing

These “smart” technologies are growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. A recent study estimated that annual IoT spending by Canadian businesses is predicted to grow from $5.6 billion in 2013 to $21 billion in 2018 – a 375 per cent increase. Another international survey predicted that the economic impact of the Internet of Things could be $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025, or 11 per cent of the global economy. And, in January 2015, Samsung CEO B.K. Yoon announced that 90 per cent of the devices his company sells will connect to the Internet by 2020. That’s only in four and a half years.

Will it Benefit your Listing?

A quick search of your smartphone apps store will show what is already available and ready to go. But is there a cost to all this convenience? As in any wireless application, and or use of technology, there are opportunities for the systems to experience interruptions. Not unlike running an unsecured home wireless network, these areas will need attention at installation to ensure your security and limit the potential for disruptions.

But will the installation of smart technologies/appliances increase your property’s value? Perhaps. Homes that monitor and control energy usage may provide sellers with a competitive edge. And refrigerators and freezers that advise you wirelessly if there is a power shortage may reduce your insurance rates. But if your system is just too smart, buyers might think twice about your buying your property, even if it is chatting with you on a daily basis.

To learn more about a home’s smart technology, smart appliances and energy efficient rebates talk to a Toronto Real Estate Board Professional REATLOR®.

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