Dog walkers, laundry, home cleaning, repairs, deliveries. These are just a few of the on-demand home services you can get these days.
But the problem with most of these models is that they still require customers to be at home to let somebody inside or to have something picked-up or delivered.
Smart home technology, though, may begin to make these kinds of services a lot more convenient.
On Wednesday, the smart lock maker August announced that it has partnered with 12 on-demand services, including the home cleaning and repair service Handy and the dog-walking service Fetch, to form a new platform called August Access. The new feature basically allows smart lock owner to use these services without having to worry about being around their house to let someone inside.
Here’s how it works: Smart lock owners select a service like Fetch and give the company a day and time that they want their dog walked. Fetch is then given access to that person’s home via a virtual key so that the worker can easily pick-up and drop-off the pet by simply using their smartphone to unlock the door. After the service is provided, that virtual key is destroyed so that it cannot be used again.
That’s the next step in home automation. Once everyday objects in our homes become connected to the internet, they will be able to sync with other services we already use online for stuff like shopping and home delivery.
While the adoption of smart home products is still pretty nascent, the on-demand economy has taken off. And people are use to getting what they want when they want it. This attitude will only help drive home automation adoption, Jason Johnson, August CEO, told Tech Insider.
“We are getting more deliveries and using more and more services for the home, and the challenge is how do you get those services in the home in a safe and convenient way?” Johnson said. “Users can choose to use these services and not have to worry about how to get packages inside, or get the house cleaner in. With August Access, it’s done in a trusted and secure way.”
At the same time, smart home companies like August have to make a big pitch to people that these kind of products can improve their lives. While it’s technically possible to fully automate your home, research has shown that there isn’t a lot of interest in the concept among consumers right now. Research firm Argus Insights had a study this summer that said 62% of consumers are unfamiliar with smart home technologies.
August’s push for more automation of our day to day life is, of course, not a new concept. As more of our everyday devices become connected, the ultimate goal is that humans will have less to worry about and more time to attend to more important things.
For example, a smart refrigerator that knows when you are out of milk and automatically orders more saves you a trip to the grocery store. Or a smart car that can drive itself gives you more time to get work done during your morning commute.
As we begin to expect more convenience, we will begin to buy more smart home products, Chris Kim, August’s head of product, told Tech Insider.
“At some point consumers are going to begin seeing these smart devices as less of a cost and more as a way to significantly change how they live their lives,” Kim said.
“The same way, with this technology, people are going to say ‘I just want my dry cleaning to be taken care of…I don’t want to have to manage everything in my life, I just want this to just happen and to work and that is when we are going to see the influx of smart home technologies.”
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