Your new house could have built in Wi-Fi and Alexa in your walls
The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization that certifies Wi-Fi enabled products, is ready to usher in a new era of the smart homes.
Traditionally, there have been no set standards for integrating a wireless network directly into home blueprints, unlike other essential utilities, such as plumbing and electricity. But as our houses continue to be filled with IoT appliances that depend on the internet, a strong network signal is becoming increasingly important.
The org has issued a new set of guidelines for homebuilders to follow to include wireless networks in their designs, which were drafted with an eye to the needs of a connected future, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance announcement:
The requirements consider the increasing number of smart home devices expected in homes over the next decade, and the growing demand for data-intensive usages such as virtual reality and simultaneous 4K video streams. Wi-Fi Home Design will scale to accommodate both the growth in Wi-Fi devices and high-bandwidth applications.
The first homebuilding company to use the certification, South Florida-based Lennar, is bringing Amazon’s Alexa as part of the project.
Sure, blueprints may sound wonky, but anyone who’s ever suffered from a persistent deadzone knows how important well-designed network coverage is.
The all-over coverage will come courtesy of strategically placed LAN access points (APs) throughout the floor plan based on the Wi-Fi alliance guidelines, which should provide a strong wireless network in the entire home and even outside of it, to patios and garages.
Lennar’s partnership with Amazon brings a new wrinkle to the idea of a smart home, with Alexa included even before move-in and the homes optimized for smart appliances. The integration will come through Amazon’s Echo speakers, which a spokesperson said will be included in each build. We’re not quite at the point where the AI lives directly in the walls, à la my colleague Damon Beres’ favorite film Smart House, but it’s a start.
The Lennar-built homes will also offer devices on the Samsung SmartThings connected platform and activation and service from Amazon Home Services as a perk of the partnership. However, other devices can also be connected. If you love your Google Home, it will work here too.
Lennar will start offering the Wi-Fi Alliance-certified homes in the 19 states in which it operates next month, and the Wi-Fi certification could become a major new aspect in home design if other builders adopt the standards. We all want that perfect network connection — and if your house is built with Wi-Fi as a central focus, perhaps we can finally have it.