Search form

(Updated May 2017)

Smart home devices, which allow the remote monitor and control of home features, are a booming industry with major players and mass adopters. Automation technologies have been around for decades (recall The Clapper), and consumers can still purchase separate technologies to control thermostats, sprinkler appliances, or door locks.

These days, Smart Home Hub systems are available to manage disparate functions through one centralized interface that can be accessed on a user’s smart phone or tablet. Homeowners and renters alike have taken notice. They want smart home devices for lots of different reasons, but security and energy management are among the most significant. Read on, and learn why some say the global home automation market will be worth over $121.73 billion by 2020. (A. Creitz, Information & Web Content Specialist)

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Get to Know the Lingo

There are several keywords used for this evolving industry:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Domotics
  • Home automation 
  • Smart homes
  • Intelligent homes
  • Automated homes
  • Wired homes

Reasons for the Home Automation Boom, in a Nutshell

“…the [home automation] market, experts agree, is growing, and rapidly. This growth is driven, in part, by the rising tablet market. Smart home DIYers have increasingly found the tablet as an effective remote control to manage all of the systems commonly found in a smart home. Additional drivers include the decreasing costs of smart technologies; increased government regulation regarding energy consumption; increased energy costs; increased consumer awareness of, and concern about, the environment; and consumer security concerns.”

Source: The Smart Home: Intelligent Home Automation, (Entrepreneurial Insights, Aug. 22, 2014).

The Basics

When It Comes to Smart Homes, the Future Is Already Here: Why Creating a Connected Home Is Easier Than Ever, (Medium, Apr. 2017).

How IoT & Smart Home Automation Will Change the Way We Live (Business Insider, Dec. 2016).

Six Benefits to Home Automation, (SenSi, July 2015).

2015 State of the Smart Home, (iControl, 2015).

Home Automation Comes of Age, (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 17, 2015).

Testing the Benefits of Smart Home Technology, (Property Management Insider, Jan. 10, 2015)

House of the Future: How Automation Tech Is Transforming the Home, (Forbes, Oct. 10, 2013).

The Advantages of a Smart House, (SFGate, n.d.)

How to Get Started

Best Smart Home Devices, (CNET, May 2017).

Home Automation Buying Guide, (CNET, Apr. 2017).

Smart Home Guides, (Amazon, 2017).

How to Automate Your Home with These 8 Devices, (Inc., 2016).

Quick Guide (Choose Simple or Advanced Playbook for information about upgrading to a Smart Home, and get links to related products, companies, apps, reviews, and more.), (SmartHomeDB, 2015).

Benefits: Energy Efficiency & Security

Smart buildings: Energy Efficiency at What Price?, (, Feb. 2017).

Smart Home Technology: 6 Gadgets That Will Increase Home Efficiency, (RealtyTimes, Sept. 2016).

How Smart Homes Help Energy Efficiency, (CTA Blog, Dec. 2015).

Smart Homes: Focus on Security and Efficiency, (REALTOR® Mag, July 2015).

Nest Thermostat Pays for Itself in 2 Years, Studies Find, (Greentech, Feb. 2, 2015).

Smart homes aim for consumers' wallets as energy costs soar, (CNBC, Mar. 22, 2014).

Home Automation for Seniors or Disabled

For the Disabled, Smart Homes are Home Sweet Home, (Fortune, Feb. 1, 2015).

Smart Home Sensors Could Help Aging Population Stay Independent, (Scientific American, Feb. 1, 2014).

Smart-Home Technologies to Assist Older People to Live Well at Home, (Journal of Aging Science, 2013).

Consumer Perspective on Home Automation Systems, (AARP, Dec. 2012).

Security Issues With Home Automation Systems

Amazon’s Camera-equipped Echo Look Raises New Questions About Smart Home Privacy, (TechCrunch, Apr. 2017).

Consumers Are Wary of Smart Homes That Know Too Much, (NetworkWorld, Mar. 2017).

Can Your Smart Home be Used Against You in Court?, (TechCrunch, Mar. 2017).

Study Highlights Security Vulnerabilities in the Smart Home, (CNET, Apr. 2015).

Keeping "Smart Homes" Safe From Hackers, (CBS News, Sep. 9, 2014).

The Problem With Home Automation's Internet of Things (IoT), (Forbes, Sep. 26, 2013).

When 'Smart Homes' Get Hacked: I Haunted A Complete Stranger's House Via The Internet, (Forbes, Jul. 26, 2013).

Market Players

Here’s a sampling of companies that have entered the home automation space:

Apple - HomeKit (not yet available) 
ARCOS - Smart Home
AT&T - Digital Life®
Comcast  - XFINITY® Home
Google - Nest
Microsoft / Insteon® (partnership)
Samsung Electronics - SmartThings  
Siemens - Synco™ living

Remotely and IOTAS create home automation systems for the rental market, and focus on developers and property management companies, rather than on individual consumers.

Automation Standards & Protocols

IEEE Standards Association (IEEESA)
IEEESA is a “consensus building organization that nurtures, develops & advances global technologies” (Source: IEEESA approves and publishes standards for IoT applications.

“ZigBee is the only open, global wireless standard to provide the foundation for the Internet of Things by enabling simple and smart objects to work together, improving comfort and efficiency in everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is an open, non-profit association of approximately 400 members driving development of innovative, reliable and easy-to-use ZigBee standards” (Source:

For a great primer on home automation protocols, see Home Automation Technologies from PC World.

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart (Adobe eReader, Overdrive READ)

The Homeowner's Energy Handbook (Adobe eReader, Kindle, Overdrive READ)

Marketing to Millennials (Adobe eReader, Kindle, Overdrive READ)

The Luxury Strategy (Adobe eReader, Kindle, Overdrive READ)

Luxury Brand Management (Adobe eReader, Kindle, Overdrive READ)

Selling Luxury (Adobe eReader, Kindle, Overdrive READ)

Field Guides & More

Field Guide to Millennial Home Buyers

Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties

Information Services Blog

Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?

Click here to send us your suggestions.

The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.