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You've heard these home technology terms over the last few years but unless you've actually lived in a smart home it's difficult to conceptualize exactly what they mean. The idea of home automation has been around since the early 1900s but over the last few decades it's been fully realized. Smart homes are offered in many forms and at many price points so the term is not all inclusive and a buyer must beware. I'm going to tell you what home automation means to me, as I've lived in a true smart home for the last 7 years.
Home automation can be as simple as turning on a light from a remote control instead of getting up to flick the switch or telling your thermostat to automatically turn down a few degrees while you're at work during the day and then adjusting back to your comfortable temperature before you arrive home. I'm sure you're familiar with universal remote controls which enable control of the TV, DVD Player, and cable box from one remote since most cable or satellite companies now offer the solutions themselves. There are many affordable solutions that accomplish these single point automatons and they all sounds great, right? Turning on a light from your sofa equals house of the future, just like the Jetsons, right?
Now let me tell you what a real smart home can do for you. This smart home is not the cheap solution we talked about above. Fully integrated home systems can cost anywhere from $ 20k to $ 500k but they have unimaginable capabilities and are thoroughly seamless to incorporate a new level of security and convenience.
Imagine this home …
When the doorbell rings select TVs turn on to the camera display at the front door for 60 seconds. Better yet, when someone pulls into the driveway, those TVs turn on to the driveway camera so you can see who is there before they even reach your door.
If your child comes home from school alone, your home can send you an email when they disarm the alarm.
If you have children who leave every TV and light on in the house, they're not something you'll have to check or worry about turning off. At any time you can see what lights, TVs, etc. are on and turn each one off via your remote control, touch panel or, of course, your iPad or iPhone – that's right – you do not even have to be home to control your home!
Maybe you have water trouble in your basement? You'll be happy to know you can receive an email if your sump pit reaches a certain water level and you can react before the flooding begins.
Home Automation does not only include the items in your home but also those outside. Outdoor lighting, heating, audio, video and more can be controlled by your outdoor waterproof remote control.
When you're ready for bed you can hit the "Good Night" button and all of the lights turn off, all TVs except the master turn off, the thermostat is adjusted, the garage doors are armed. Keep in mind, EVERYTHING can be customized, so if you have a teenager who watches TV all night his TV needs not be on the "Good Night" button. Or maybe you actually want to set his TV to go off an hour after you go to bed. When your house is wired so that all of the electronic components talk to each other anything you dream of is possible.
All this talk of buttons has reminded me – you do not even need a remote control! Your body itself can control your lights as you move through your home.
Home automation really is a convenience that is inconceivable until you experience it as part of your daily life, but it's certainly a convenience I hope I will never have to live without. Our smart home allows me to spend more time with my family, feel safer in my home and save money on my energy bills. A true smart home allows for a better way of life.