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I’ve been observing this vertical of evolving solutions for several years, and, just hours into CES 2024 in Las Vegas, it is clear that robotic home services are here to stay.

This poses the question of how new-home builders can leverage this trend and the massive investments being made by some of the world’s largest brands to further their differentiation from used homes. If we fail to understand this new vertical of home solutions and adopt our home designs for them, we risk fumbling the future.

Robotic lawn mowers have been around for a while. I remember seeing Husqvarna’s robotic mower several years ago and thinking, “Wow! This technology might become mainstream!” It was a combination of thoughtful design, led by an incredible brand and the integration of multiple technologies that enabled it to surpass the MVP (minimum viable product) threshold. Since then, every year more and more brands have entered the robotic home services space.

We are now awash in new robotic home services: lawn mowers, snow blowers, pool cleaners, window washers, floor cleaners (mopping and vacuuming), home companions, pet management, health monitors, security monitoring, healthy air quality management, household energy management, even robotics that will cook for you and make you a drink at the end of the day. The list grows every year covering every aspect of our lives. This new wave of innovation is targeted on creating the “Zero Labor Home,” a phrase I have borrowed from LG’s vision for its robotic services.

What separates a simple product from a robotic service is the integration of intelligence, driven by artificial intelligence (AI); electrification, driven by battery energy density; advanced sensing, driven by Moore’s law; and cloud services all served up on your very own smartphone. These aren’t things you turn on; these are thinking machines that know what needs to be done and how to do it on their own.

So, what do we as the new-home industry to leverage this new wave of innovation? How do we build for an automated home care environment? How do we use these new offerings to further differentiate between new and used homes? How do we force consumers into a choice between homes that suck their free time away and those that work for them?

I don’t pretend to have the answers for all of these questions, but I want to start the discussion. We could build homes with hidden locations for these new devices. Could we build robotic vacuum “garages” under our kitchen cabinets? Can we ensure our floor plans are robot friendly? Can we design our homes to guarantee Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home and property?

If consumers are forced to choose homes that allow for seamless robotic household maintenance versus homes that require them to do the work themselves, we can harvest the value created in such designs. If we apply our collective knowledge and skills to this issue, I believe we can continue to build the future together.

So, let’s get the conversation started. How are you adapting your new-home designs for this brave new world of robotic home services?