We at CUR8 are always exploring what’s new in home design and technology, looking at trends to figure out fads vs. industry game changers. We filter out the hype to bring you relevant product innovation in a fast-moving market. One trend, or movement, that continues to gain momentum is “smart” – smartphones, smart homes, smart clothing, smart accessories, smart everything. So, what do we mean by “smart” and why should you care?
The smart evolution
“Smart” home products are typically defined as those that are connected to the Internet, that can be controlled remotely, and that automate or optimize aspects of our environment such as temperature, lighting, security, or entertainment. Historically, “smart” also meant complex, expensive, professionally installed and controlled technology solutions. It’s no wonder, then, that designers often outsource these technology-focused design elements.
Today, however, smart technology is becoming increasingly “Do-It-Yourself” and smart capabilities are working their way into more than just gadgets. Interior surfaces, furniture, appliances, lighting, and décor are all getting smarter.
Part of our CUR8 mission is to help connect the design community with this new smart marketplace — giving you access to the innovative product, information, and insights you need to grow your business. The future is now for smart design. Let’s get connected.
Why should you care?
Most established designers have worked a lifetime without engaging much in home automation or “smart home” design. However, to quote an old Bob Dylan song, “the times they are a changin’.”
As smart gadgets become smart materials and “smart home” becomes just “home,” connected products are becoming part of the very fabric of our experience. Just as it’s hard to remember life without cell phones, we’ll soon expect all our built environments to interact with us in meaningful ways.
And that’s where interior designers come in.
Where do interior designers fit in this new marketplace?
To date, smart home design has been all about technology. Tomorrow’s opportunity is in the translation of technology-driven innovation into relevant, personalized living experiences. Who better than interior designers to make “smart home” just feel like home?
Designers, already trusted advisers, have the skills, experience, and relationships needed to craft meaningful smart experiences for their customers. Whether you’re designing for new families or aging, empty-nesters, designers are uniquely positioned to integrate smart products into the overall customer experience.
Did we mention that manufacturers and retailers are taking notice? We talk to leaders in smart home brands every day. They see big value in designer participation in the smart space and are working with us at CUR8 to give you the tools you need to make an impact.
The payoff. Cha-ching!
Smart homes offer benefits beyond just the cool-factor. Done right, they can save time and money, reduce energy consumption, make us safer, keep us in our homes longer, and add a little surprise and delight to our day. That makes everyone feel good but as they say on late night infomercials, “wait, wait, there’s more!”
We know it’s never all about the money (but, for most of us, it’s a little about the money). The 2017 smart home market in the United States is just under $15B and is expected to show an annual growth rate of almost 22%, resulting in a U.S. market volume of just over $32B by 2021. Big dollars here.
Just look at 2016 holiday sales for Amazon Alexa-powered products. Sales surged more than nine times over last year’s holiday season. They were the “most gifted” products of the year and completely sold out until late January 2017. The Alexa phenomenon reflects changes in consumer behavior and signals expanding interest in smart, interactive environments.
This year’s smart home product sales are the tip of the iceberg. When you consider the emergence of smart product in new categories not yet represented in the numbers, you get the picture. We are talking to makers of smart sofas, table tops, tile, cabinetry, art, and more.
There is a world of opportunity in this new marketplace.
It’s time to start getting a piece of the smart-home pie. Need inspiration? Browse our smart product line to see what we’re loving and why you should too!