Home Automation: Creating a Smart HomeBy Home Security Source Oct 24, 2010 | 9:55:00 amPosted in: Home
Some of the craziest, futuristic trends from science fiction movies, TV shows and even classic cartoons like “The Jetsons” are finally becoming realities. For example, you can now talk to friends and family hundreds of miles away and see them, in real time, right on your mobile phone, laptop or web-enabled device. You can monitor your home security system the same way, by remote control, checking alarms, motion sensors, security cameras and more. And now you can even control everything inside your house from absolutely anywhere, using a BlackBerry, iPhone, Droid or similar smart phone. That’s because there are now “smart homes.”
With home automation, you can make your home interactive—or to use another word, “smart.” For instance, what if your favorite song played every time you walked in the front door? How about turning off the coffee maker and the TV while you’re on the way to work—or even out of state? Home automation lets you control every electric and electronic gizmo in your home remotely by connecting them to a home network. All the devices and appliances in your home network can then communicate with you—and each other.
Some of the most common uses for smart home automation include lighting (dimming or turning lights on and off), home security, home theater/entertainment (all audio visual systems) and thermostat/climate control. When home automation systems were first introduced, they were too expensive for the average consumer. But now they are more and more common. In 2005, Americans spent about $14 million on home automation and analysts predict that amount will grow to more than $85 million by 2011.
It’s easy to understand why interactive homes and home automation are becoming so popular. One of the biggest, most obvious benefits is energy efficiency. Another is tremendous convenience. It may seem like science fiction but with home automation, your refrigerator could tell you what to make for dinner based on what you had inside it. Your washer and dryer could text you when their cycles were over. And that’s just the beginning.
One of the smartest homes around belongs to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. Everyone at Mr. Gates’ house is pinned with an electronic tracking chip. As they move through the house, lights ahead of them come on and lights behind go off or dim. Imagine leaving a room while watching your favorite show or listening to a song you like—and have it follow you through the whole house. At Mr. Gates’ residence, when two people are in the same room, the house figures out a compromise based on the preferences they have saved on their tracking chips.
When you make your own abode a smart home, consider these basic elements:
- Cameras to monitor your home's interior and outside perimeter.
- Lighting controls
- A video door phone instead of a doorbell.
- Motion sensors that can differentiate between pets and burglars.
- Key-less door lock controls that let you open doors with scanned fingerprints or a four-digit code.
- Audio systems to distribute music from your stereo to any room.
- Channel modulators to take any video signal—like your favorite cable channel— and make it viewable on every television in the house.
Remote controls, keypads and tabletop controllers to activate the smart home applications. Devices also come with built-in web servers that allow you to access their information online.
It may sound out of this world, but a smart home is as close as your computer or phone—to contact a provider. Home automation networks are available from a variety of companies, especially home security companies that are experts in remote control and smart phone home-monitoring systems.
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