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A guide to home automation

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Simplifying Your Life

Remember the Jetsons, where everything in this futuristic household was controlled or done by robots? That scenario is almost here.

Today, if you have the knowhow, you can connect a large part of the mundane tasks of life to the Internet. Most of us already do this. Our smartphones, ipods, ipads, tablets and computers are linked; timing of indoor/outdoor lights are synchronized and we can even check up on our children through our smartphones.

All this is called home automation. And it’s here to stay.

Home automation is all about helping you to simplify your life by allowing you to program certain aspects of your home to do everyday tasks while you are away. Many of us are already using home automation even though we don’t realize it. If you have an alarm system that secures your house, or have rigged your sprinkler system to turn on and off at certain times, or have the outdoor lights turn on at the same time each evening you are already using some forms of home automation.

Internet of Things

Now, more and more of these tasks can be taken over by connectedness to the Internet. This process is now being referred to as the Internet of Things.

One of the reasons for this sharp incline in the use of home automation is the affordability and ease of use of smartphones, tablets and computers. Since they can all be linked, many home chores can now be carried out with a touch of a button.

Many companies now sell packages that integrate electrical devices in a house with each other. This means that not only is your home entertainment system connected, even your pet’s food could be dispensed automatically, your house plants watered, your vacuum cleaner robot activated remotely, the temperature set at precisely the level you like, and your favorite music playing for you when you enter your front door.

Elderly and Disabled

Home automation is particularly handy for those of us with elderly and/or disabled family members. It may provide them with the ability to remain independent, with more convenience and comfort.

Some Home Automation Companies

  • Nest Learning Thermostat was recently bought by Google. It learns your habits and then automatically adjusts the temperature. Net result – your heating or cooling bills are lowered. It can be controlled through Wi-Fi. Nest also have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that alert you in a calm voice to danger.
  • Revolv Smart Home Automation Solution can be controlled through an app on your phone. Right now it is only available for iPhones, but androids will soon be added.
  • Belkin WeMo uses Wi-Fi to chat with your home router and to the Internet. Currently it is able to activate devices plugged into WeMo switches but more products are in their pipeline.
  • Smarthome sells products from many companies so it is an ideal first step on the home automation shopping tour.
  • Iris from Lowes is a starter kit which comes with several automation devices such as sensors for doors, windows and motion detectors. It is able to interface with devices bought from other companies such as smoke detectors and wall switches.
  • AT&T Digital Life offers home monitoring and alarm systems plus add-on packages.
  • ADT Pulse is well known for home security but now they are instituting other home automation devices such as flood and CO2 monitoring and remote video among other things.
  • TaHomA by Somfy is the future come true, but for a high price. It must be installed by authorized dealers but can control eleven devices.
  • Savant Smart Systems can control your audio/video, telephones, lights, energy and your computer.

Now sit back and relax. With your home completely automated you can spend the time on the deck, beer in hand listening to your favourite music piped in automatically.

 

By: Beverly Burgess Bell

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