A rebellion by our robot helpers might not be on the horizon quite yet, but more and more homes are being delivered in metro Atlanta—and beyond—that will listen to and keep an eye on their inhabitants.
On Monday, Atlanta-based construction company PulteGroup unveiled for local media its new model smart home in Sandy Springs’s Atwater Community, where Roswell Road meets the Perimeter. It’s a subdivision of single-family houses and townhomes, built by Pulte brand John Wieland Homes, ranging from about $600,000 to the $800,000s.
And it’s the latest example that the Internet of Things is making its mark on Atlanta’s real estate market.
With the Pulte smart house’s local debut came the announcement that, starting this month, every new residence the national company builds will include “state-of-the-art” electrical guts that allow owners to digitally connect to their homes, making everyday tasks—think flipping light switches or locking the door—a bit less strenuous.
With networks of wires and wireless access points—essentially internet routers—all new Pulte homes will come equipped to sync with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or any other gizmos that offer users hands-free control of their surroundings.
“Maybe you’ve been flirting with Google or already have strong feelings for Alexa,” said PulteGroup CEO Ryan Marshall in a press release. “We let you pick the roommate you want.”
And while it’s nice to tell your home when it’s time to “Turn on smooth jazz in the kitchen”—as PulteGroup’s VP of sales and marketing Sean Clancy did at the Sandy Springs house—most people, he said, prioritize security over entertainment when using the system.
So Pulte has teamed with manufacturers of smart door bells, locks, security cameras, and garage doors, all of which could be accessed from a smartphone on the other side of the world.
Homebuyers don’t have to utilize the hardware behind the walls, but the company’s crews will rig up a system ready to pair with smart switches, USB outlets, locks, and lights free of charge—and without tearing through the house.
The base package that comes with a Pulte home purchase doesn’t include voice control devices, such as Alexa or Home, or climate control tech, although those options and many others can be purchased and installed by the company’s contractors, officials said.
“Hotels, cars, restaurants, offices, subways, airplanes, and other places we visit on a regular basis are fully wired for our convenience,” Marshall said. “Yet until now, most homes were not, often requiring a frustrating mix of patchwork solutions for those wanting to integrate technology into their home.”
After Pulte introduced Atlanta’s first “smart neighborhood” on the Westside, other companies followed suit with plans for their own tech-friendly communities.
In Cumming, Amazon has teamed with homebuilder Lennar to bring Georgia its first “Amazon Experience Center”—an entire Alexa-driven community, which is expected to boast nearly 700 homes lined with a whole arsenal of Amazon gadgets.
That project, developing in Cumming’s Mountain Crest community, is slated to be split into subdivisions that will offer single-family houses and townhomes with prices between the high $200,000s and low $300,000s.
Another builder, Loudermilk Homes, also offers options to make its properties “smart” or “smarter” by using Amazon Alexa, according to the firm’s website.