Smart Home Technologies and Baby Boomers


The baby boomer generation represents approximately 20 percent of the American public and more than half of all consumer spending nationwide. Smart home technologies that add comfort and simplicity tend to appeal to this important demographic. While there is a perception that the 55+ population is reluctant to adopt new technologies, a 2015 Harris Poll found that only 17 percent of baby boomers stated they would never consider a smart home technology purchase. That’s good news for businesses focused on the Internet of Things, the term used to describe the variety of Internet-driven products in today’s ever-growing connected world.

As older homeowners transition to retirement, it is likely that many will buy homes with smart home technologies or will install such products into their existing homes. Aware of this fact, Taylor Morrison and Hanley Wood’s BUILDER collaborated to launch the NEXTadventure Home, a model home project that is designed to illustrate the future of the 55+ lifestyle. Located within Taylor Morrison’s 1,500-home master-planned community, Esplanade at Highland Ranch in Clermont, Fla., the project aims to help the building industry better understand the lifestyle and home preferences of buyers 55 and older. The NEXTadventure Home features design elements that are popular with boomer home buyers, including an open floor plan, indoor/outdoor living space, high ceilings and natural light. The home also includes a wireless security system and integrated home technology, such as smart thermostats and lighting controlled via smartphone.

The NEXTadventure Home is also one of the first homes in the U.S. to feature Rinnai’s Control-R™ Wireless Module, which will be available this spring. Installed in conjunction with Rinnai’s Super High Efficiency Plus tankless system, which features a wall-mounted digital control panel and ThermaCirc360™ recirculation technology, the module pairs with the Rinnai app using a local Wi-Fi network, enabling homeowners to monitor and control their unit remotely using their smartphone. 

While the ThermaCirc360 recirculation system can be pre-programmed to run at specific times, the wireless module allows the homeowner to initiate recirculation via a wireless push button or motion sensor. Individuals also can place a wireless push button or motion sensor near the point of use or elsewhere in the home, such as next to their bed, to initiate recirculation. Either convenient option offers the same result – hot water delivered faster at the tap. Homeowners may also elect to have their Rinnai tankless unit monitored remotely by their plumber or HVAC technician, so any necessary maintenance will be easier and less time-consuming.

Although tankless water heaters are already considered the smart way to heat water, with the upcoming launch of the Control-R Wireless Module, Rinnai is making tankless units even smarter and an integral part of any connected home. Just like smart lighting, smart sound systems and smart kitchen appliances, the technology can be appreciated by consumers of any age, but with society’s focus on living a worry-free, relaxing retirement, it’s an especially good fit for older homeowners.