You can automate your business payments. You can automate what television shows you record. Now, you can automate monitoring of your home while you’re away. Being able to watch over and control your home remotely is convenient and adds to your home security. What was once science fiction is now reality, with some very simple tools available to the homeowner.
A review of http://www.securitycompanies.com or a similar service gets you in touch with several companies that specialize in home security and automation. Each offers various packages to control certain home features with options to add more capabilities. There are three basic components for any home automation system:
-Switches and sensors, used to control anything from lights to your alarm system.
-A central transceiver hub to communicate with all of the sensors and switches.
-Software that ties it all together, and allows you to control your system from a computer or smartphone.
All of this is available in packages from home automation dealers, or can be purchased piece by piece by the do-it-yourself homeowner. In either case, you can start with some basic features and add more control to your home.
Programmable thermostats have been around for some time, but the new generation can be controlled remotely and will actually learn about your habits. If you are out of town and the weather at home suddenly changes drastically, controlling your thermostat remotely can keep you from coming home to frozen pipes.
Video cameras placed throughout your home allow you to check in on the house and watch what’s going on. If you’re a pet owner, this could be valuable. If you aren’t sure you closed the garage door, you can check in remotely and see if you left it opened.
Some units allow two-way audio, too. You can be out of town and have a maintenance person show up at the door. You can verify their identity before you let them into the house remotely. The presence of cameras in the house also tends to make workers a little more cautious about doing anything unprofessional.
Door and Window Locks
Use home automation to remotely control locks in your home. Your system can monitor the status of locks, warning you if one has been unlocked. Most home security systems only tell you if a door or window has been opened. Home automation can tell you if a lock has been picked.
This also removes the need to give out keys to neighbors or friends. They will contact you if they need to get into the house, and you can unlock a door for them.
Lights and Other Electronic Equipment
Almost anything that plugs into an electrical outlet can be turned on or off remotely through simple devices that plug into the wall. These let you turn your lights, stereo and TV on and off remotely. Fully programmable systems make your house looked lived in while you’re away, by turning devices on and off at different times.
An Evolving Industry
Home automation is evolving and designers are still learning. Early on, questions such as, “How much network security do we need to control a coffee pot?” were not asked. At one technology trade show, Kim Zetter at Wired magazine reported hackers had built tools that could detect home and business automation devices through the power lines.
One reporter was able to access a stranger’s system from his computer and turn lights on and off in their house. He called the surprised homeowner to tell him what was going on.
Research the home system you’re interested in and make sure it’s secure. These systems give you a lot of control and flexibility. With more complexity comes more risk. Make sure you’re working with a professional contractor and components.
What tips do you have for home automation? Share them in the comments.