New homes with a mind of their own may seem futuristic to homeowners but not to home builders.
According to a survey of more than 1,000 home builders, the reality of the "smart home" is here and now.
A majority of builders --nearly two in three -- say they already construct homes with an eye on "smart home" technology as it exists now and how it may yet evolve. The idea of ordering your oven to preheat as you sit in an office or turning on lights and adjusting thermostats as you're stuck in traffic will be commonplace, along with dozens if not hundreds of other in-home possibilities.
The survey, by home center retailer Lowe's, is a sign that high-tech homes are going mainstream in the housing sector.
According to David Steed, senior vice president of merchandising for Lowe's, that builders have warmed to creation of homes in sync with laptops or programmed for household functions is evidence that homeowners best be aware of more than bricks and mortar as they build their next home or undertake a major home renovation.
"Builders are keenly aware of how their business is changing and being driven by technology considerations," says Steed. "It's not a trend as much as it is simply the way home building is going."
Yet homeowners aren't in the dark about the enlightened possibilities. Some 51 percent of builders say their customers ask for the technology now.
And the pace of smart home technology seems poised to rapidly gain greater steam. The majority of builders see smart homes as having already arrived or just a few years away from catching on across the housing spectrum. Only 14 percent think the concept is five or more years away from widespread acceptance.