Your front door is open

I can tell you exactly – to the minute – what times I left and what times I returned to my home every day over the last week.

I can tell you which of my doors and windows are closed, and the last time my living room saw movement.

I can see a picture from the last time there was movement in my living room. And my kitchen. Or I can simply check the live camera that’s set up right now and take a picture. I can even move the angle of the camera.

I can make the lights flicker in my kitchen as I sit in the 1000WATT Oakland office in another part of town.

And I do it all from my phone.

Soon, there will be more things connected. Thanks to the research, testing and tinkering done by my curious husband over the last month, a nifty app called SmartThings, and a handful of various sensor hardware and cameras, all of this cost us around $500 so far. Not bad.

For us, the forecast of the smart home is now a reality. While our motivation was spurred mostly by security needs, our eyes are now wide open for the possibilities that sit directly ahead.

It’s all in the data

Of course, the smart home is just one part of the Internet of Things. And while the vast majority of people still don’t touch this world in any way, it already feels like we’re entering the next phase: finding meaning in all of the data that’s being created and stored.

Those who’ve used fitness tracking apps and devices have already come across this need. Say you use a Nike Fuelband to tell you how many calories you’ve burned and steps you’ve taken in a day….. and? This is great information to have, but most people are looking for more. What can the average person do with that data? What kind of specific behavior changes can be suggested as a result?

Maybe next time you fire up an app like Runkeeper to plan a run, it could suggest the least crowded, most ideal temperature route for the run you need to take today to match your specific fitness goal. This is the type of context that surely will come next.

For the smart home, it seems the next logical chapter will be in not only suggesting changes but also doing them. No movement in my living room for the last 20 minutes, but the lights are still on? My smart home eventually will turn them off without me lifting a finger.

What does this have to do with the business of buying and selling homes?

The term data in real estate is already going to new depths. There’s listings data, public records data, and now there’s data about your living and breathing home. Data about average energy costs and ways to save on those costs. Data about home break-ins. Data about when heat, cooling or even appliances are used.

When it’s time for me to sell, there will likely be data about my home showings – how many people showed up, how much time they spent in each room, what they interacted with while there, and comments they left along the way.

I think the point for real estate businesses is that homes are getting smarter and will continue to evolve into data repositories. How can you leverage this trend in your business? Can you keep up with expectations of connected devices, experiences and data? Can you find a way to be part of this new value chain?

The door is wide open.