What to Know about Automating Your Home - The Explorer: Tech Talk & Innovation

What to Know about Automating Your Home

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:38 am, Thu Aug 14, 2014.

(StatePoint) The “connected home” is one of the biggest areas of technical innovation today, with smart appliances, learning thermostats, app-driven lights, and intelligent door locks taking center stage in home improvement stores and magazines. In fact, by 2017, an estimated 36 million homes throughout North America and Europe will be smart. 

For some consumers, the concept of a “smart home” can be overwhelming. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The Basics

Home automation gives you remote and automatic control of a wide array of devices in your home -- it’s ideal for convenience and control, and some devices can help with money savings.  Home automation can also alert you to events that you might want to know about while you’re gone, like leaks, kids arriving home or security breaches.

For your furry family member, your smart home can distribute pre-determined amounts of food on a schedule so you don’t have to worry about your pet missing dinner while you’re stuck in traffic.

Is it Right for Your Home?

Not everyone is in a place to install a full home automation system -- literally and financially, as apartment living, renting, low cash flow, expensive installation fees and advanced technical set-up can all be limitations. 

However, with stand-alone home automation devices and apps, you can make your home smart without integrating a whole-home automation network. For example, smart locks, lighting, irons, coffee makers, security cameras and refrigerators can all be controlled by smartphones without the need for a fully integrated system. 

First Things First

In a recent analyst report from NextMarket, the smart lock market will grow to $3.6 billion worldwide by 2019. With security and access control leading smart home product adoption, a logical place to start is at your front door. Consider trying Kwikset Kevo, powered by UniKey, which was the first smart lock on the market. It makes it possible to open the door by simply touching the deadbolt -- without removing you smartphone from your purse or pocket.

Via the Kevo app, users can grant and revoke access to the house electronically, view a lock history and get notified when someone locks or unlocks the door without connecting to the home network or a power source. Available at many major retailers, it installs easily, within a few minutes, with just a Phillips head screwdriver, making it an excellent example of how one product can usher your home into the era of automation. 

From there it’s easy to move on to take smarter control of your home appliances and lighting, and you can make as many or as few changes as your budget and imagination allow.

Smart home solutions are granting homeowners access to information and features that were previously unavailable. Bottom line: you don’t have to be rich or have a fully-connected home to enjoy the benefits. If you’re considering getting on board the trend, do your research and find the best technology and products for you.

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