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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Denver’s MLS Adds Data Fields for Smart Home Technology



By JIM SMITH, Realtor ®
     The headline for my Jan. 14, 2016, column was “Indications Are That 2016 Will Be the Year Home Automation Goes Mainstream.“ Denver’s MLS, www.REColorado.com, proved me right last month when they introduced new data fields for “Smart/Connected Home Features.” Listing agents can now check up to 15 of the following devices, although hardly any listings so far have any of them:

Air Quality Monitor
Alarm/Security System
Audio/Video Controls
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Ceiling Fans
Dishwasher
Door Locks
Dryer
Freezer
Garage Door
HVAC/Fans/Vents
Lighting
Microwave
Pool Alarm
Radon Detector
Refrigerator
Security Cameras
Smoke Detector
Sprinklers
Stove/Oven
Thermostat
Video Doorbell
Washer
Water Leak/Flood Alarm
Window Coverings
 
What, you might ask, is a “”smart/connected” device? One such device that you have probably seen advertised on TV is the video doorbell. By connecting this device to your home’s internet WiFi, you can have the doorbell “ring” on your smartphone, no matter where in the world you are at the time. This is a great security device, because the person ringing your doorbell has no way of knowing you’re not home when you answer the ring and start talking to him or her over your phone. You also see the person on your smartphone screen.

The video doorbell can also detect motion and display on your phone (and record in the cloud) video of the person approaching your front door and perhaps stealing a Fedex package which was just delivered. The most common brand is available from www.Ring.com, where you can also purchase a camera alone (no doorbell) so you can monitor any area inside or outside your home.
 
Another “smart” device you’ve probably seen or heard of is the Nest smart thermostat, which  you can purchase online at www.nest.com. They also sell smart smoke detectors and security cameras.
 
You can turn anything in your home on or off from your smartphone by buying a Wi-Fi-connected device which you plug into any outlet and then plug the device you want to control into that device.  You can buy these “smart outlets’ at www.ConnectSense.com/smart-outlet. They work with Apple’s HomeKit, which you can read more about at www.apple.com/ios/homekit.  The HomeKit connects the apps which control individual smart home systems through so-called “scenes.”
 
For example, you could create a “Leaving home” scene which turns off lights, locks your doors and lowers the thermostat, all with one command. You can create any number of other “scenes” which combine multiple instructions to your internet-connected home appliances from your smartphone.
 
Interestingly, there is no place on our MLS to specify “dumb” versions of many of the “smart/connected” devices listed at left. For example, there’s no MLS field for carbon monoxide detectors, even though there is a field for smoke alarms. There’s also no place to specify a radon detector, flood alarm or security cameras that aren't “smart” or “connected.”

As a result, I suspect that some agents will inadvertently check these fields for devices that are not actually smart or connected.
 
Do you use smart home technology in your own home?  Let me know! 


Published Aug. 11, 2016, in the YourHub section of the Denver Post and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers.

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