Home Automation Is Coming To A Home Near You

New entry level systems bring wider accessibility to home technology

Will 2012 be the year that home automation moves from a luxury reserved for the millionaire next door and becomes a possibility for the everyday home owner?

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According to the editors over at Home Toys, the answer is yes. And for one simple reason — the variety and quality of entry level systems now on the market. Those systems are taking advantage of advances in technology, mainly in the wireless and power line arenas, to tackle what used to be the major obstacle for the average home owner: installation. Gone are the days of buying miles of expensive cable and then fishing it and retrofitting it into your home.

Home automation — defined

At the most basic, it’s remote and/or automated control of the functions in your home — from lights to security, from music to the coffee maker, from HVAC to TV.

Home automation systems — described

Home automation systems range from global systems that manage everything to targeted solutions that focus on just one function (e.g., lighting, security, locks, etc.).

Home automation — there’s an app for that

Along with the advances in power line and wireless technology, which may be invisible to the everyday consumer, there have been significant advances in web and mobile-based apps. Today, most every home automation solution allows you to monitor and manage your system from the web and from your phone, no matter where you are.

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Home automation systems — free or minimal cost  (via HomeToys.com)

  • Home Seer — “control lighting, climate, audio/video, security, irrigation and more”
  • mControl“take control of metering systems, lighting solutions, climate controls, security systems, cameras, audio/visual equipment and beyond” (this company is currently looking for beta users/testers for the latest version of its system, mControl v3)
  • Think Essentials“leverage your existing computer investment to set up, configure, and control your smart home with ease”
  • Indigo — “communicate with dozens of different home automation modules, providing control of lighting, lamps, appliances, sprinklers, thermostats and more”
  • VeraLite“created for users that already have a WiFi router and want to add home control at the most affordable price”
  • Encore“end-to-end, multi-source/multi-room music system providing superior audio distribution and sound quality”
  • Insteon“the standard for lighting, appliance and home control applications. Over 1,000 manufacturers are involved in INSTEON R&D, spanning products in every imaginable home application”
  • Nexia“Unlock the door or adjust the temperature for a visitor while you’re working at the office… oversee and control your home via web and smart phone mobile interfaces”