Are your homes connected? Homeowners increasingly want to be connected at all times, and being connected in the home is no exception. With technology progressing at a very rapid rate, homebuilders may want to consider what types of technology and infrastructure are being put into new homes.

Connected appliances are one area to consider. ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, Oyster Bay, N.Y., projects the market for smart home appliances will be worth roughly $25 billion by 2018. This would amount to a compound annual growth rate of 92%, due largely to growth in North America, China, and the Asia Pacific Region. North America alone is expected to see revenues above $500 million this year.

The report credits the projected rise in worth to the notion that thus far, connectivity features are mostly limited to top-end, more luxurious products. However, in time that connectivity will be made available in lower-tier products.

The report notes Wi-Fi is preferred by appliance manufacturers for wireless connectivity, and projects more than 21 million Wi-Fi enabled appliances will be shipped by 2018. However, because of the high energy consumption required for Wi-Fi connectivity, technologies like ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth will eventually gain their share of the market, says ABI Research.

ABI senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan says the capabilities of these connected devices for the home are relatively limited at the moment, but will expand as time goes on.

“Smart home appliances have yet to incorporate features that add significant value for their premium price,” Krishnan says. “Smart home appliance features are at present limited to remote access through mobile devices. The true value of these smart grid ready devices, such as use in demand-response energy management programs, is several years away and initially will be primarily U.S.-based.”

A new era is coming where homes won’t just be connected and energy efficient, they will also be intelligent, with the ability to make decisions based on realtime location data. This is the next era of the connected home, and one company is looking to lay claim in this area.

EcoFactor, www.ecofactor.com, Redwood City, Calif., has been awarded a patent for the use of geolocation data from smartphones and other mobile devices for home energy-management services. The patent includes a unique method for using location-based information to adjust the temperature setting in the home. This can include when a homeowner is on the way home or driving away.

Ecofactor’s executive vice president and cofounder John Steinberg, says the company believes the winning energy-management system will be the one that does the best job of adapting to people’s lives and preferences without requiring them to constantly make adjustments. With geolocation data, EcoFactor is positioned to enable energy-management systems to make decisions based on a homeowner’s location.

This type of “smarts” is going to be essential in new homes. Many homebuyers in this day and age want their homes to be connected, allowing the homes to make decisions about how to best operate. Have you considered how this transformation in technology will impact the homes you are building today?