Voice Activated Systems & The Future of Connected Homes

The Amazon Echo sparked amazing glimpses into our near future.

The REAL Trends Tech Team recently bought an Amazon Echo for the office. While initially it’s a glorified music player with a voice-activated calendar (it integrates with your Google Calendar!), it can be so much more. Rooted in the smart-home sector, the Amazon Echo (and later evolutions and upgrades) will be a powerhouse in our industry for years to come. Right now, you can connect most smart-home devices to it, and it’s relatively inexpensive at just under $200.

Other voice-activated systems, such as Siri have the potential to change the way to do business. While connected in a different way, the “Hey Siri” feature is pretty powerful as well. It is voice activated without having to get past your passcode or fingerprint and can help you discover information when your hands aren’t free. If you don’t have that feature turned on, go into your iPhone settings and check it out.


So what does this all mean? A look into the near future, and you will see more connected homes with security, lighting, heating and cooling, smart devices and more all controlled by your voice as you enter the home (sometimes even before you enter the home.) Because your WiFi is secure, you may voice-activate your garage door opener, exterior lighting or front-door lock with a simple audible command.

Coldwell Banker is taking a clear leadership stance in the future of home automation and, as fast as this sector of our market is evolving, this is an extremely wise move for a real estate franchise. Pay attention to the partnerships they create. Soon, I predict that we will see smart home designations. I am also willing to bet that smart homes will impact home prices in more progressive parts of the country, then trickle down to luxury homes and new developments in more rural parts of the country. REAL Trends joined the smart home bandwagon. We will have many new smart home announcements coming soon.


There are products being tested that allow a world where visual and audio experiences close the gap, and more hologram-illumi-nated displays are within reach for the office or home. With the voice activation and connected home, just about any device or any room could be truly connected.

For real estate, technology will allow you and customers to walk through a listing without actually being there. With smart hubs in every room (including the bathroom!), you can communicate and be in each room without actually being there.

Even applications and interactions with consumers will change. Initially, it will likely be in the form of data and systems access. Imagine voice entering your next listing into the MLS, or a central input point, then meeting a new lead face-to-hologram-face in your living room in real time. Wow!

But, enough about the future. Let’s talk about now. How can you get involved? Obviously, if you are a Coldwell Banker broker or sales associate, stay the course. For others, there are plenty of opportunities. Get connected with smart home innovators and companies. Many want broader access to the real estate market and can partner with real estate firms to achieve this. Find a few partners in several of the categories and educate and train your agents on these new products. 

Stay tuned as REAL Trends will continue to offer great how-to articles concerning smart, connected homes.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2015.

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