February 01, 2017

How Close is the Fully Automated Home?

by Erin Johnson

There’s optimism in the air in the building and construction industry. At January’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando, that feeling held true. An estimated crowd of 80,000 showed up to check out the latest innovations—up approximately 20,000 attendees from last year’s show.

And just a week prior, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) descended upon Las Vegas, where hundreds of thousands of attendees annually gather to see the latest new product technologies. What does it have to do with building and construction? Many of the most talked about technologies showcased at CES revolved around one thing: the increasingly connected home, a trend also heavily represented at IBS.

And it means all residential building and construction professionals should be paying attention to how increasing connectivity could be impacting their business.

Connected Everything
The “Internet of Things” has been a buzzword for a few years now, and it’s not going away. New technologies showcased at CES ranged from a “smart” refrigerator that will text you when you are running low on yogurt to a “smart” trashcan.

Connectivity was a running theme at IBS, too. Attendees witnessed remotely locking doors and windows; custom, variable tinted windows that change depending on the day’s weather; IG windows with internal, automatic blinds; and software that integrates throughout an entire home, including doors and windows.

These technologies aren’t brand new in themselves—commercial building operators have taken advantage of Building Automation Systems for more than a few years. But now, we’re seeing automation and connectivity begin to proliferate in everyday living spaces. Consumers are demanding total connectivity for a variety of reasons: increased control over energy use and cost, better convenience among busy schedules, and more.
Adaptability in a Changing World
Of course, it could be a while before many of the technologies highlighted at IBS and CES become commonplace. But for building and construction professionals wishing to stay on the leading edge of their industries, it’s worth thinking about now.

Within fenestration, we’ve seen how high-speed automation has enabled us to increase production and boost quality. Many in our industry continue to hone operations for maximized efficiency, quality and labor usage with new automated lines. And when we think about the window manufacturing plant of the future, we must also consider homeowner desires of the future.

It might be a while before everyone has fully connected, responsive, automatically adjusting windows and doors. But it might also be sooner than we think, and it’s those manufacturers who have stayed up on trends, technologies and changing consumer preferences who will reap the benefits.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Erin.Johnson@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: February 01, 2017 by Erin Johnson Filed under: automation, CES, IBS