Beyond Home Security: Other Trends in Home Automation

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Home security is taking the world, and the world’s tech conferences, by storm. All the big names are getting in on the game, or they are partnering with the prime players to make sure they get a foothold in the market. News about the latest software and hardware for home security is now commonplace on mainstream news channels, too.

Home security, though, is just one part of a bigger movement. That movement is Home Automation, and it is exploding onto the scene right now. In addition to home security, here are the other home automation trends to watch if you’re looking to simplify your life:

  • On demand lighting: Remember how people used to have those old televisions that didn’t have remotes so they used their kids as the remote? That’s kind of what lights are today. You have to get up to hit a switch to turn them on or off, or to dim them. Those days will soon be ancient history (and kids will forget how their parents used to use them). With home automation for lighting, you can use an app on your smart devices (phones, tablets) to control your lighting from wherever you happen to be – even if you aren’t home.
  • Connected appliances: Lighting isn’t the only thing that can be controlled with home automation. Using a smart adapter in your outlet can allow you to automate control of your appliances, like your coffee maker and television. Some of these adaptors can connect to your home hub, like the Amazon Echo, which expands your options to include voice control. So, with a simple exclamation of “Turn on the coffee,” you can have your coffee maker come to life.
  • Thermostat control: This isn’t really a new feature; I’ve been using automated thermostat control for years now. What is new is how new technology is expanding how you can use these controls; there are ways to control your home temperature with your voice, there are ways to create zones that have different temperatures, and there are ways to have your thermostat adjust based on the outside climate.
  • Window blinds and shades: Motorized window treatments can also be part or your home automation. You can open, close, or tilt your blinds with the push of a button, and in some cases, the use of your voice. I don’t know of a system that allows you to schedule blind openings and closings, but I wouldn’t be surprised it one exists.
  • Irrigations: While this isn’t so much about using an app or your voice to control the water in your house, it is an interesting development in home automation. There is now tech out there that will track and report your water usage, and tell you was to save. For instance, there is a shower head that using LED lighting to tell you how much water you’ve used, and when you should be cutting your shower off. This seems like a shift from you controlling your house, to your house controlling you, but we’ll see how this shapes up.

These are just the trends for homes. New technology is being developed that promises to connect all the things in your life: your home, your vehicles, your devices.

Photo by: Jeremy Levine

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