Walk into a home today and it is not uncommon to find a variety of smart devices. Smart devices are defined so due to their ability to connect to the internet. This allows those devices to perform a variety of tasks, such as retrieving information, sending and receiving data, and communicating with other devices.
From smartphones to thermostats, to doorbells, to nanny-cams, we live in an era where everything is connected. But with all of this interconnectivity, what does it mean for the electricians who have to build and maintain the individual houses and offices and the grid as a whole?
For one thing, it means more opportunities to work on new and exciting projects. Smart technologies will need skilled electricians to install, maintain, and upgrade the systems. Below we will take a look at why these new technologies will become the next big thing for talented electricians.
The smart home market
You have probably already seen the Nest Home doorbells, smart thermostats, and wireless access points. Those are just the tip of the iceberg. The smart home market is rapidly growing to include thousands of products all sporting features designed to appeal to the homeowners of today. Intuitive interfaces and network connectivity are only the beginning.
And as more products enter the market electricians will find increasing opportunities to install them. Admittedly, there are some devices that the average homeowner should be able to install on their own. But people trust qualified electricians to take care of the heavy lifting. From installing smart thermostats to security cameras, the demand for electricians knowing how to install and maintain complex systems has never been higher.
As the bridge between smart technology and end customers, electricians play an important role in understanding what customers actually want and how to best communicate those needs to suppliers.
As smart homes become more widespread, there will be increased reliance on electrical contractors for upgrading their homes to align with the latest trends in smart technology.
Retrofitting older homes with smart technology
While building new homes with the latest innovations and smart technologies can be a fun job, not all customers are going to come to you with a blank slate. You may not always get the opportunity to set up smart home tech from scratch. Some customers will have existing homes and infrastructure, that were built decades ago. For these customers, it is more about upgrading their current home for the modern era rather than building anew.
Seldom is it not more cost-effective to integrate smart features into older homes than rebuilding from the ground up just to add smart connectivity. Consequently, you will only encounter it more and more. Integrating these revisions improves the efficiency of these systems by allowing them to work and communicate with each other, and gives owners more control, so that they can manage energy and lighting on a more granular level.
The good news for electricians aspiring to work on these kinds of projects is that installations are relatively painless and simple. This makes specializations in this area much simpler, you do not have to go through extensive training or coursework to learn how to install many of the products coming to market.
However, you should expect to stay up to date on what new smart home technology is available on the market at any given time. This area of the market changes frequently, and it is imperative to know what the latest and greatest products are if you want to give your customers the best service they can get. Not only are the newer products feature-rich, but they are also able to maximize efficiency, which means significant savings for customers wanting to install these solutions.
Commercial installations are in demand too
Smart tech and connected technology are not limited to home automation. Based on a survey done by Klein Tools, around 60% of electricians have already done smart technology installations, and around 70% have seen an increase in smart offices in their area.
So why are companies and offices all jumping on the bandwagon? Businesses and building managers want to control how their buildings serve them, not only in terms of efficiency but also when it comes to convenience—they want their solutions to be flexible and work with their changing needs—smart technologies do that for them. Occupants in office buildings also want productive environments.
The requirements of most building managers and occupants are fairly simple—lighting, HVAC, and wireless connectivity. For electricians, these simplified requirements not only make their jobs easier, but as each commercial project comes with a list of preferred technological solutions, it helps them know which tech products to keep an eye on. Knowing the current trends is necessary to successfully upsell and recommend products that genuinely serve clients’ needs.
Building smarter cities
We have already mentioned smart homes and smart offices. But these are just a small part of the upcoming smart city revolution. From smart billboards to artificial intelligence, high-tech installations are a crucial part of the cities of tomorrow. All the connected devices that we own will communicate with the smart cities we live in, and deploying talented electricians is crucial for implementing the smart future in cities everywhere.
Another major aspect of building smarter cities is 5G, the latest generation of mobile networks promising better connectivity for smart and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. But the advent of 5G means there will be much higher sensor density, which is crucial when planning smarter cities. Smart sensors and 5G enables connected devices to communicate with each other faster and more seamlessly than they could before.
If 5G cells and 4G towers are to be installed correctly and maintain optimal performance and efficiency, electricians will need to be trained on proper installation, maintenance, and upgrade routines. Building the cities of tomorrow will not happen overnight; it is a long-term commitment—but that work begins today. Lucrative job opportunities exist for electrical contractors who don't neglect to learn about smart technologies.
Industry experts predict a rapid expansion of the smart tech industry estimating a doubling in growth by the year 2025. This means working as an electrician on these installations is not just a good career opportunity right now, but it will become even more lucrative in the future. If you consider what you can do to keep yourself in demand as a contract electrician, staying up to date on the latest smart home and smart office technology trends can make a world of difference.