In this fast-paced world, life is complicated enough trying to balance work and family. From home automation to whole-home entertainment, new and cool technology can help save time, energy and the hassle of doing everyday chores. Enter the world of a smart home, where life is made more convenient and safe.
When implementing automation into a home, hardwired installation will garner the most reliability. However, this expensive possibility is only open during the construction of a new home—before the drywall goes up.
For existing homeowners or apartment dwellers, there exists a myriad of wireless and powerline technologies, including INSTEON, Universal Powerline Bus (UPB), X10, ZigBee and Z-Wave, which are less expensive and easier to implement to control your home.
In addition to lighting and climate control, home automation also includes security and surveillance systems. Some smart homes also boast a whole-house multi-media entertainment system, automatic sprinklers, automatic pet feeders and customizable, elaborate lighting scenes to suit any occasion.
Home automation begins with lighting control. With a lighting-control system, you can control all the lights in your home from just one control panel. Touch a button and your house will light up to welcome you home. You can also set lights to power on/off based on a specific time of day and even day of the week. Make life easier and safer by having the porch lights turn on after dark and then off again at bedtime or sunrise.
Create the perfect mood with lighting scenes that suit the moment. Have different lights in your living and dining room dim to different levels to set a romantic atmosphere or have a “bedtime” scene to turn off all the lights in the house leaving only the hallway lights on.
Love the look of lush yards but not the hassle of the upkeep? Now you can set your sprinklers on a timer to go off at sunrise and never have to worry about watering your lawn again. With a temperature or rain sensor, you can also program the sprinklers to activate only when it’s hot and dry.
Your pets are a part of the family, but you can’t always take them with you. With an automatic pet feeder and waterer, you will ensure that your pet won’t go hungry or thirsty while you’re away on vacation or working late. The devices can be set to dispense food and water a preset number of times per day to keep Fido healthy and well.
Having full control of your HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) system can save you time, energy and money. Automate your air conditioner to an energy-saving setting when no one is home and then automatically restore it to a comfortable level when your house is occupied. For convenience, you can preheat your home by remotely adjusting your thermostat over the Internet or even via a cell phone.
Motion sensors provide both convenience and safety. Set up motion sensors both in and outside your home to trigger different events. A driveway sensor can trigger outdoor Malibu lights and the surveillance camera. Have sensors in the bathroom turn on the ventilation fan or activate an alarm in the house when the backyard motion sensor is tripped to ward off intruders.
Keep your home and loved ones safe by installing web cams to monitor your house from the office or anywhere you have Internet access. Connect the cameras to a digital video recorder for a full-home surveillance system. For even more security, infrared cameras allow you to see in the dark, while motion-sensor cameras start recording whenever they detects movement.
Why restrict yourself to enjoying your music in your living room or family room? With their unobtrusive design, in-ceiling and in-wall speakers let you enjoy music in every part of your house without sacrificing the aesthetics of your home. You can also adjust the volume of a whole-house audio system in any room by installing an in-wall volume controller or use an IR/RF universal remote control to get full control of all your A/V devices from another room in the house.
Go wireless with your whole-house entertainment using the wireless network in your home. Store your music, pictures and videos on your computer and stream them to any stereo or flat-screen television, so you can enjoy your A/V entertainment anywhere in your home.