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Home Automation Trends (page 2 of 4)

Find out what's new in smart home technology.

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Image courtesy of HAI.

You are the controls; the controls are you

Certainly there’s no shortage of excellent gadgets and gizmos designed to keep you safe, happy, and entertained at home. But the current evolution in home automation is about integrating all of a home’s systems into a centralized control that can be accessed from multiple entry points — home-based touch pads, computer screens, land-line telephones, cell phones, and mobile devices, such as iPads.

“Homes have their various systems,” says Mark Colegrove, Director of Sales and Marketing for Homeseer Technologies. “Lighting, entertainment, security. However, most of these systems don’t talk to each other. We’ve focused on integrating these systems, building a personalized experience based on your preferences, then automating everything so it works seamlessly, without any intervention.”

Leading the integration revolution are two components — switches that respond to automated signals, and easy-to-use software that allows a computer or dedicated controller to broadcast signals to its family of controls via wireless, infrared, radio waves, and hardwired connections.

Many types of switches are of the plug-and-play variety, making them off-the-shelf ready for the tech-savvy DIYer. For $30 to $100, you can plug a smart switch into a wall outlet or change an existing wall toggle switch to a smart switch that has a variety of capabilities, such as turning on and off devices and appliances:

• at certain times of the day.

• at sunset, sunrise, or any programmable time.

• when motion is sensed or when a signal is detected, such as the sound of a doorbell.

• in response to voice recognition.

• in response to temperature variations.


Settling into the software interface, a homeowner can set up and direct the switches to accomplish any number of tasks. Your individualized program is then available via the internet from anywhere in the world, and can be adjusted with the click of a mouse or the tap of a smart phone screen. The result is a highly personalized environment — a house that reacts to individual needs and wants, and even anticipates changes.