When most people build a new home, after they figure out all the basics, they start daydreaming and researching all the cool new features that they want their new home to have – if budget is not a big issue. And even when people do not have the budget yet, they still want to know what features they can add into their home plan down the road. People today know that they want efficiency and simplicity when it comes to home automation. The smart home plan of the future with automated systems is here to stay.
If the concept of a smart home of the future brings back memories of the Jetson's futuristic home, you may actually be on the right track. But just remember that when designing your new smart home, you can make it as smart as you like, with as little or as much home automation as you want. Smart home technology is convenient, and this state-of-the-art market is growing from automated kitchen appliances to air conditioners and thermostats to security systems -- not to mention the latest wireless connectivity for all the screens in your home.
One of the biggest trends is what is now being called, “The Internet of Things” which refers to the objects and products that are interconnected and identifiable through digital networks, from your fridge to your furnace. This is disruptive to all of the electronics in a home that are or could be part of this tech revolution.
According to Berg Insight the sales of automation systems may grow to around $9.5 billion by 2015, while by 2017, that number could balloon to $44 billion says CNN. Technology is moving at breakneck speeds these days. A quick Google search brings up a plethora of information, resources, and websites featuring cool tech gadgets for the smart home. There is everything from automation and control, whole house audio, climate control, communications, home theater and entertainment, intelligent lighting, and safety and security to sustainable energy.
Today, smart homes are becoming a consumer trend and established tech organizations are even launching new smart home products. Much of this is due to the jaw-dropping success of smartphones and tablet computers. These ultra-portable computers are everywhere, and their constant Internet connections means they can be configured to control a myriad other online devices.
How to Set Up a Smart Home
• Three core technologies enable a smart home: X10, Insteon, ZigBee and Z-Wave. These are basic protocols required for a smart home’s communication. They've created alliances with electronics manufacturers who actually build the end-user devices.
• An auto alerts from your security system can go to your smartphone, then you’ll instantly know if there's a problem at home.
• Smart home products might include a camera tracking a home's exterior. Or you can also control a thermostat from any place your smartphone has a signal.
• LED lights enable you to program color and brightness right from your smartphone.
• A motion sensor sends an alert when there's motion around your house (It can tell when it is a pet, a mouse or a burglar.)
• Smartphone integration lets you turn lights and appliances on or off from your mobile device.
• Garage doors and door locks open automatically as you and your smartphone approaches the home.
Many devices come with built-in web servers that allow you to access their information online. Most of these products are already available at home improvement stores, electronics stores, and you will also see them offered by installation technicians online. But before you purchase, check to see what technology is associated with the product(s). Products using the same technology should work together despite the fact htat they are from different manufacturers. However, some products require a bridging device.
When seeking a qualified technicianmake sure that they have CEA-CompTIA certification - the result of a partnership between the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). This certifies they are proficient in installing, maintaining and troubleshooting any vendor's home networking equipment.
If you are wondering how much a smart home costs, it would depend on how smart the home is -- anywhere between $10,000 and $250,000 for sophisticated systems, and of course these numbers will grow as the technology advances.(Source: McKay).
Here is CNET’s list of the best smart home devices for 2014.