The tight design and the high quality of prefabricated homes are making the integration of smart home technology easier. As an additional benefit, this housing as a product model is driving the cost down for the buyer. Here are a couple companies driving the trend forward.

The smart home has a problem. It promises to create a better living experience, save us time and energy, and provide ultimate control and convenience. And then it takes you an entire afternoon to sync your alarm clock to your coffee maker. But as demand for home automation increases, builders and tech companies are innovating and adapting new ways to produce smart homes.

"The majority of our homes will be smarter within five to ten years," predicts Sara Gutterman, CEO of Green Builder Media, which partners with builders to develop prototypes of smart homes. "Look at the progress homebuilders like Lennar, KB, and Meritage have made already." These companies and others are now offering preinstalled smart devices powered by Apple’s HomeKit or Amazon’s Alexa as packages or even standard in all new homes.

But is layering gadgets on top of a traditional construction the best route to a fully integrated smart home? Jeff Wilson, founder of prefab smart home startup Kasita, doesn’t think so. "It’s kind of screwed up how we think about housing," he says. "We haven’t productized it." His Austin-based company’s micro home doesn’t just incorporate technology; it is a piece of technology. "It’s both software and hardware," Wilson says.

As with site-built smart homes, Kasita’s rectangular 374-square-foot houses are prewired with automated thermostats, lighting, shades, and speakers, all of which respond to voice control or can be managed with an app. The difference is that the whole system is controlled by Kasita and can be remotely updated and improved, just like a smartphone or an electric car. "One day you’ll be able to say ‘Good morning, Kasita,’ and it will tell you your home is now 10 percent more efficient due to a software update," Wilson predicts.

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