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Digested From “Sure Smart Home Tech Is Cool. But How Much Does It Save You?”
CNBC News (07/06/14) David, Javier E.
The growing market for smart home technology encompasses everything from Wi-Fi thermometers to automated kitchen appliances to air conditioners. However, one big question remains: Do all these fancy tech gadgets actually help consumers save money, especially at a time when home heating and electricity bills are on the rise? Experts note that smart tech helps give consumers the ability to monitor their energy usage and downshift accordingly, thus helping save money over the long term. The problem is their initial investment costs can be hefty. Market participants state that smart home users are motivated by an array of concerns, most notably cost savings and the environment. A recent study by the University of Michigan's Energy Institute determined that concern over the toll energy use is taking on Mother Nature cuts across all income levels.
Then, there is the "cool factor" -- i.e. users are drawn to the technology, regardless of price, because it enables them to take control of your home with a computer or mobile device. That is the allure of products like Vivint's new Sky platform, a cloud-computing solution that gleans information from appliance and energy use and then makes recommendations on how to save energy. The annual market for light controls alone is an estimated $1.7 billion, and Navigant Research expects automated thermostats to generate $1.4 billion by the end of the current decade.
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