Feb 052014
 
Merlin is often 'triggering' automatic lights at our home.

Merlin is often ‘triggering’ automatic lights at our home.

By now you’ve probably heard the term ‘Smart Home’ as a selling buzzword on a lot of new technology available today. But what really is a Smart Home and what does the future hold?

The general definition is a home with programmable controls for running systems within the home. A common item found in homes today is a programmable thermostat. Google ‘Smart Home’ and you’ll find plenty of companies with items to sell you to make your home automated (or smart). There actually have been items available for quite some time to automate homes and once the personal computer became a common household item linking the computer to these systems was a natural fit.

For example we’ve been using automation to control some of the lighting at the Derrick household since the late 90’s. Originally based on a system known as X10 many lights are either triggered to switch on & off by motion sensors or computer set timers. We now incorporate Insteon, which is another system compatible with X10. Over the years these device controllers have expanded in capability to pretty much turn anything on and off you want to automate. So from this perspective you can make your home as smart as you want (and how much $$ you want to spend). Today you can control anything from your computer, tablets, smart phones, or anything that connects with the Internet and back to your home. But these are all controlled by programmed timers, some sort of trigger, or by a remote switch device. Things are starting to change for the next level of ‘Smart Homes’ and the future of home automation.

'The Smart' Nest Thermostat

‘The Smart’ Nest Thermostat

A good example of the next level of automation is the Nest thermostat. Now we have an automation device that learns your habits and controls the heating & cooling in your home based on your personal activities (or it’s interpretation of them). And you can easily track and control the Nest via the Internet from your smartphone or computer. Coupled with the fact that Google just purchased the company you know this will soon be expanding into other household devices. They’ve already developed a smoke detector that will talk to the Nest and shut down the heating system when it is triggered.

Many appliance manufactures are adding monitoring systems to give the homeowner alerts. In the near future I can see a refrigerator that inventories it’s contents and lists them on your smartphone so you know to stop at the store on the way home because the kids just emptied the last of the milk. Add Google or Amazon to the mix and the milk will just show up on it’s own.

A more practical application would be a service call is automatically called when diagnostics indicate a problem and the home security system then knows to allow access for a technician with the proper verification code. You’ll be notified there was a problem and it was fixed without lifting a finger. At the point where the devices in your home are making decisions we can almost call it a ‘Artificial Intelligence Home’.

So the true definition of a ‘Smart Home’ is changing as fast at technology does. There are already a lot of voice controlled options so when you couple the security and home control systems it is now possible to come home and talk to your home to get in the door, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, etc. In the not too distant future your home may just talk back to you. It’ll be up to you to determine if that is ‘Smart’.

Whether it’s a smart home you want or any home, The Derrick Team is here to help. Call or text 317-563-1110 for all your real estate needs. Or use our handy Contact Form.

 

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