Smart home automation systems are great for monitoring your energy usage, or basic security or even turning off your lights and heating/air conditioning when you’re gone. Part of the draw in home automation however should be integrating your normal home systems together on easy to use control screens, or apps for your smart phone and tablet. Being able to control your home entertainment systems, your outdoor speakers, the lights in the living room or dining room, the intercom or anything else for that matter, from a touch screen controller, or an app, just has the feel of the 21st century. We may not have flying cars but we can stream movies to multiple devices!
This gets a little more complicated as ultimately you want one control system that monitors everything from your home security to your home entertainment system and appliances. There are several companies that make smart home controllers and home automation integrated systems that should be able to be installed with a little more advanced know how. Crestron makes some great controllers that can network with your lighting control systems and home entertainment with pretty minimal effort. The only downside is that you are pretty well stuck with Crestron products for all of your home automation in order to integrate all your systems as easily as you would want. The upside however is they have apps for your smartphones and tablets as well as home wall units and remotes.
Insteon makes a package lighting/home entertainment unit that will take over your private home theater quite nicely. It replaces several light switches and outlets for lamps as well as providing an integrated IR (infrared) controller that can be programmed as a universal remote for all your home theater systems. It’s a cheaper, easier way to get started on integrating home entertainment without the higher investment costs of the flashy displays and full systems Crestron offers.
Lutron probably offers the most comprehensive home automation systems. They have very specific products that will allow you to integrate lighting, home theater, home energy efficiency, window drapes, occupancy sensors and home security integration. Their systems allow you to integrate with third party devices, as well as purchase Lutron developed components and items for your house, your car, and every room in the house. Occupancy sensors, outside lighting, home entertainment and temperature control/energy monitoring gives you everything you need to create the most advanced home you can dream of. Their systems all work together allowing you to utilize an app for tablet or smartphone or connect to their repeaters over IP (Standard Internet Protocols).
As you can see Home automation and the future of Smart Home Technology is not just a fad, or a passing fancy. These systems are available and offer easy integration into your home if you are willing to spend the time and money necessary to develop it. Whole home package solutions are possible as well provided you don’t mind the cost or preparation involved.
If you are in the process of building your own home of course this is much easier to deal with, just make sure your general or electrical contractor pulls the wires to where you want them to go in the house and ensure that your light switches and wall panel are from a system that you want to integrate in the future.