How the IoT Will Transform the Home Maintenance and Repair Industry

By Daniel Shaked

Companies will harness insights from the data explosion across the connected home to offer a comprehensive home care-as-a-service platform.

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As the old saying goes, it is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary. That adage still rings true today.

We go to the doctor every year for a physical and twice a year to the dentist. We take our car to the auto mechanic at least once a year for maintenance. Yet the funny thing is, when it involves our homes, the biggest single investment most of us will ever make, we often wait for things to break down before addressing them. When the roof leaks, we call a roofer. When the washing machine stops working, we call the appliance repair person. When the air conditioning doesn't work, we call for HVAC repair.

With the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the home, that world may be changing in the very near future.

As sensor costs come down, our homes are being connected from top to bottom. Smart thermostats are becoming the norm for many, while motion-activated security cameras scan the perimeter and alert us to potential intruders. Digital door locks can be controlled remotely for the trusted visitor, while plumbing leak detectors are starting to gain on the ubiquitous smoke detector.

These days, almost every new appliance coming off the factory line is equipped with sensors and Internet connectivity for access to real-time monitoring via its own app. With all this connectivity, this means data about the home is growing as well. As in the case of personal health-monitoring devices that send real-time information to our doctor, or cars that monitor our driving for insurance rates, data changes the way services are delivered.

So how will home-care services change when the IoT is fully implemented?

The first change will be more timely alerts, like the so-called "idiot light" on a car's dashboard that lets you know of a transmission fluid leak or other failure. So, instead of reacting to a plumbing issue after it has already ruined the flooring, sensors will alert you to the first signs of moisture. Or tiny microphones will alert you to termites chewing your wood floor before you see the sawdust from their work.

The next step will be to tie a service provider—plumbers, painters, pest control, HVAC systems repair, etc.—to these alerts who can move quickly from notification to action. They will be able to respond to issues before they get out of control and ruin parts of your home. The next logical step after that will be the advent of predictive maintenance for the home via artificial intelligence to reduce the costs of failure even further. Devices will detect when your washing machine needs a belt replaced, or when your garage door opener needs oil.

As companies continue to collect this new data generated by the connected home, the industry will see a movement toward a full subscription model for home-care services and repairs. The model will bring together all your home's service people under a single umbrella at a discounted cost.

This future "managed" house will be powered by a robust and trusted platform that can identify the urgency of the situation and then dispatch the appropriate service professional with the right tools and parts to take care of an issue expeditiously. Data from the house, the homeowner, the project and professionals will continuously improve the response and transaction.

"This is the dawning of the home care-as-a-service platform, and it's not that far away," says Ohad Zeira, the former director of consumer IoT at Verizon and an advisor for the Internet of Things Consortium. "Just like car insurance companies love to know how people truly drive, home insurance companies will want to know how you're treating your home. And if you have the preventative repair and maintenance service in place, your home insurance costs will surely be lower than your neighbor who doesn't."

During the next few years, the IoT network will likely change home repair—and the experience of home ownership—forever.

Daniel Shaked is the CEO and founder of ClipCall, a Silicon Valley-based provider of a mobile platform that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure home repair and improvement projects completed successfully and with less hassle by service professionals to make homeownership easier.