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There Was One Thing Missing From Homearama This Year…

Homearama 2017 has come and gone. The annual event, produced by the Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville, showcased the latest and greatest in home trends and was hosted this year in the Oldham County neighborhood of Poplar Woods. The custom-built homes on display showcased the latest in architectural designs, high-end materials and meticulously manicured lawns and interiors. However, one aspect of the modern luxury home was noticeably missing: home automation and technology.

While walking through the immaculate homes on display, I noted that the sense of luxury and grandeur was present in abundance, but nowhere was home automation mentioned. Sure, wall-mounted controls the size of iPads hung in many of the homes, but no vendors or reps were there to show them off. The lovely Nest thermostat screens glowed faint blue in many of the homes, but there was no one present to discuss why the device was selected for the home or the benefits it can bring to a homeowner, not even a sign or URL for visitors to get more information. The Homearama website, which profiles each of the nine homes on display didn’t mention home automation or products anywhere.

Home automation is bringing us closer to realizing the dream of a “smart home,” where the temperature will always be perfect with air as clean as a hospital, security systems will regularly reassure you that everything is O.K. on the homestead, and you never miss any of your entertainment as you move from room to room. As more home products are connected to WiFi as part of the “Internet of Things,” you would expect these advances in technology to be prominently promoted at a luxury home show along with the French doors and marble countertops.

In 2016, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide, a 64 percent increase from the previous year, according to IHS Markit, a market research group focusing on technology trends. IHS Markit predicts a similar increase—60 percent or more—in 2017. Personal assistant devices, like Google Home or Amazon Echo, are reportedly among the most popular automation devices. But other items, such as smart thermostats, Bluetooth or WiFi locks and lights, even connected washer and dryer sets, are entering the market.

Considering the price point of the homes and products on display at Homearama, one would expect to see home automation on prominent display. These homes are built sparing no expense and obviously seek to attract homeowners who can not only afford the luxury, but are also seeking the latest and greatest in home products. So it would seem that home automation is a perfect fit in this niche, and why it was absent at Homearama, one can only guess. Maybe next year?

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