Home Automation: the Future Is Now

by Matt Goering

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Remember the Jetsons? That cartoon family who lived in a home where the house itself served their every need and desire? We're not quite there yet as a society, but we are getting surprisingly close. Advances in automation for home residences have made it possible to automate everything from brewing your morning coffee to feeding the pets. Once you get it set up, all you've got to do is sit back and let the house take over for you.

Almost Anything Is Possible
Literally the sky is the limit when it comes to what's possible with these units. Of course, your budget might also play a factor, but let's assume it's not an option for the time being. Take a look at what these technological wonders can do.

  • Lighting: Automation of your lighting means you'll have access to different light settings for different activities. Imagine having the perfect lighting for watching television, sitting down to a romantic dinner, or tackling the bills, all at the touch of a single button. Lighting automation also means your hall light can be programmed to turn on when it senses you making a midnight trip to the bathroom, your porch and driveway lighting will turn on when you pull up to the house, and your kitchen lighting will turn itself on in the morning when you venture in for your morning bowl of cereal.

  • Home Audio: Imagine soothing jazz music turning on in your bedroom every night at bedtime. Or how about the morning news kicking on in the kitchen, along with the coffee pot, to get your morning off to the right start? Automation of your audio system can even transfer whatever you're listening to from room to room as you make your way from the kitchen to the bathroom to relaxing on the porch over the course of an afternoon. It's all at your fingertips with a home automation system.

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  • Security: Another huge draw of home automation is heightened security. Home security systems can be wired into your home automation system so all their features are at your disposal. You can check wireless feed from security cameras on your television while you're watching the big game. You can program your lights to alternate off and on from room to room while you're away, and they can also be programmed to brightly light up your house and grounds instantly in case of an unwanted intruder. And of course, your home automation system will always be in touch with your security provider, so you can be sure help is on the way in case the unthinkable happens.

  • Everything Else and More: While the above mentioned features might seem impressive, they really only scratch the surface what the automation of your home can entail. You can start your oven cooking dinner from across town, program the system to feed your pets on a set schedule, water your plants, open and close shades at certain times of the day, and even regulate the temperature of your home to save you money when you're not in. The truth is the Jetsons' aren't nearly as far off as we might think.
    Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.