What is Home Automation?


A Basic Definition  
For some it may be something as simple as remote or automatic control of a few
lights. For others, security may be the central application. Still others may choose to
install advanced controllers or use voice recognition. As a very basic definition, we
tend to refer to home automation as anything that gives you remote or automatic
control of things around the home.

Adding home automation to an existing home is surprisingly affordable and simple.

We at Smarthome think that home automation should be what you want it to be.
Whatever your "MVP" automation project might be, we're confident that using it will
make life around the home more convenient, safe and fun!

What Can I Control?  

Lighting
Probably the most popular control category and a great way to get involved with
home automation. Starter kits begin at $10 or so and are plug-and-play easy to
install. Dim fixtures you could never dim before, control them from anywhere in the
house (or world via the Internet).

Security Systems & Access Control
Have your home call you and/or loved ones if there is an alert status. You can save
money on security monitoring services or even monitor for non-traditional security
events like water in the laundry room or basement. Additionally, Smarthome
solutions include devices which will allow you to unlock the front door to let friends
in or close the garage door from your office via the web.

Home Theater & Entertainment
Just imagine replacing that pile of remotes with just one controller. Now, imagine
not having to know all 10 steps to starting up your home theater - just press the
HBO icon and your home automation products/system will do the rest. Built-in
speakers are especially popular with homeowners as they provide beautiful sound
throughout the house while adding no clutter whatsoever.
Thermostats
Remote control thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature from bed at night
or even from a cell phone while on your way home (or to your 2nd home!). They
can even trigger a notice to you if the temperature gets too low (freezing pipes) or
too high (pets, plants, etc.).

Irrigation
Have your sprinklers turn on only when it's dry. Some of our customers even turn
the sprinklers on when there's motion in the yard at unwanted times - imagine
someone trying to explain the wet clothes to the police!

Networking
Home automation can be accomplished using various types of connectivity. What's
great is that many of today's home automation products need no new wires - so they
are perfect to retrofit into an existing home. If you are building new, or doing a
major remodel, please consider adding networking, audio, video and control wiring
while it is easy and relatively inexpensive, later on you'll be happy you did.

How Can I Control Them?  

Remote control
Remote control gives you the convenience of controlling lighting, appliances, security
systems and consumer electronics from wherever you happen to be at the time like
your couch, car or even in your bed. There are several different "methods" of
controlling devices remotely. Below we highlight the pluses and minuses of each.

X10 compatible products are the most popular home automation products because
of their low cost and ease of installation, especially into existing homes.

Automatic Control
Automatic control adds even more convenience by making things happen
automatically, without any effort being necessary. Examples include having your
lights turn on at dusk and off at your desired time, having your whole home theater
turn on and tune to the desired station after one press of a button on your remote.

What are the Benefits of Home Automation?  

Home automation makes life more convenient, safe and fun!

Convenience
We've all gotten used to controlling our TV from the couch, just wait until you are
able to dim the lights as well. Imagine adjusting the temperature from your bed or
controlling the volume of your whole house audio system from any room. Or, can
you imagine the wall/ceiling heater in your bathroom coming on automatically 5
minutes before your alarm clock goes off (only when it's chilly) so that it is warm
when you enter. Many of our solutions also save energy -- we'll all agree that's a nice
convenience.

Safety
We're all used to opening the garage door from the car, but you'll be surprised how
much safer you'll feel coming home to a lit home and even turning on more lights
from your keyfob remote upon your arrival. With a couple of basic products you can
have your whole house light up like Fort Knox when there is motion detected at any
corner of your house. Imagine your house sending you an email if there is motion
where there shouldn't be any motion. Or, you can have your security system call you
if there is an alarm, which might include your typical security alarm or even a low or
high temperature or water in the laundry room or basement.

Fun
High tech products for the home are fun to use and share with others. Whether
viewing visitors at your front door on your TV or tuning your stereo by using voice
recognition, you'll find it surprisingly enjoyable. And, when it comes to impressing
the friends, you'll be happy to show off your newfound applications.