The “smart home” is everywhere we look; from in-home assistants by Amazon, Apple and Google; to smart thermostats from Nest, connected light bulbs from Phillips, and almost every appliance can include a touch screen. I mean, how else would we know how fresh the milk is if our smart fridge didn’t tell us!
With all the smart home hype these days, what about smart windows and doors? What’s available, and is it worth the cost? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are Smart Home Windows and Doors?
Key-less door locks have been around for a long time but a smart lock really takes this to the next level. A key-less entry by itself isn’t a smart piece of hardware as it just swaps out a physical key for a numbered lock. Sure, they’re digital now, but locks using numbers, like a combination lock, were some of the first key-less locks ever created.
A smart lock is so much more than just a lock that you can open without a key, as it’s connected to the internet or your phone. This connectivity is at the heart of the smart lock; it allows you to unlock your home remotely, receive push notifications or emails on your phone when the lock is used, and track all activity.
Most of these systems will use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a combination of both to get you connected. These devices are great for unexpected out of town visitors, or just allowing your door to unlock as you get close to it with an armful of groceries.
Certain models will also integrate with your Nest Protect, and Amazon or Google Home speaker. This means it can automatically unlock your doors if a smoke detector goes off or turn on lights on as you unlock the door when you get home. It can also unlock your door if someone rings your smart doorbell while you’re on the couch and, once you see who it is on the camera, the unlock occurs.
Do Smart Windows Exist?
We’ve all seen the fancy windows in movies or on TV that tint with a button push, which you’ll often find the real thing in boardrooms or luxury apartments. These smart windows, sometimes called smart glass, are expensive; which is why you’re not likely to see them in the average home.
There are very expensive smart glass systems that can automatically tint windows based on room occupancy and temperature, but most of these advancements are too costly to the average homeowner.
Currently, smart windows really aren’t an everyday item as most of the advancements focus on energy efficiency.
What do Smart Home Devices Cost?
Most homeowners are likely going to get the biggest bang for their buck out of a smart lock on their front door. For a few hundred dollars you can get a great connected device that you’ll probably use most days. This price point is in line with most other smart objects you’ll find around your home.
With windows, like ones with the electronic tinting you can turn on and off, having a smart feature will double the cost of the window, and isn’t available in most residential sized windows. Besides floor to ceiling boardroom glass, there’s not too many homes that require this level of privacy on a regular enough basis to justify the cost. Blinds are a much more cost-effective option.
Most of the time any window large enough to use smart glass tinting is a window a homeowner will want to use as an entryway – like our sliding glass systems – and this makes the cost of smart glass skyrocket, which means the demand just isn’t there.
It will be very exciting to see the advancement made in smart homes over the next couple of years when it comes to windows and doors, and of course we’ll be watching closely!