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Will smart home technology go mainstream in 2015?

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Will 2015 be the year smart home technology finally goes mainstream? All signs point to yes, according to GigaOM senior writer Stacy Higginbotham:

“The future of the connected home is continuing to evolve, and with more startups pitching products, the ship date of older crowdfunding campaigns hitting customer homes and big name companies warming to the space, I’m starting to see a few trends come together for 2015.”

In other words, now is the perfect time to get sharp on the most promising of smart home technologies, which can offer improved home safety, security and remote control. Higginbotham shares fives predictions in this must-read piece from GigaOM, but here are two that have us particularly interested. You should mention them to any prospective clients planning to build soon.

Bluetooth makes lighting a snap: At long last, products are coming on the market that will let you use Bluetooth to control light bulbs, outlets and more. These products are using mesh networking to make installing a connected light switch as easy as sticking a new plate to the wall using double-sided tape. Products from Avi-on (which is building bluetooth switches for GE’s Jasco brand), Oort, and Seed will change the way we use lighting in the home and at work. Even Peep, a company showing off a camera that snaps a picture when someone knocks on your door is looking at using Bluetooth as a faster way to get an image to people inside the home, since using Wi-Fi means it would go from the connected camera to the cloud and then to people’s phones.”

You won’t need a home hub to automate your house: This year’s hot device, the home hub that combines a bunch of radios with a software platform to let people control multiple connected devices is going away. Even SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson is ready to build software that is independent of the company’s hub, although he admits it may take some time and won’t include all the devices out there. I also saw a startup, showing off an Android-based controller called the Reach app that lets people pause videos, play songs over their Sonos and control a few other devices like Hue lights. The app is in alpha right now, but I’m eager to see it once it hits beta.