If you're building a new home or remodeling an existing one, you're probably wondering how, or if, the latest conveniences of home automation might figure into your plans. As always, we recommend getting together with a home technology professional who can show you options and answer questions.
To help get you started, here are 10 reasons why home automation is here to stay.
1. Control your home from anywhere. And by that we mean control all kinds of systems - lighting, security, heating and cooling, appliances, AV entertainment and more - from a smartphone or tablet.
2. See your home from anywhere. You can't put a price on peace of mind when you're away from home. With smart-home integration, cameras in and around your home can be accessed from a smartphone or tablet so you can see what's going on no matter where you are. Choose basic, single-view cameras or more sophisticated models with motion-triggered recording and remote-controllable pan/tilt/zoom.
3. Go crazy with convenience. Why get up from the couch to see who's at the door when you can access the front-door camera on your TV? And instead of running around the house turning the lights off before you go to bed, use an app on your phone to turn 'em all off at once.
4. Take utility to the next level. No more worrying about leaving a key and the alarm code for your in-laws while you're away on vacation. With keyless entry you can give them their own access code as well as create time-restricted codes for the cleaning service, dog walker, or anyone who needs to get into the house. You can even keep track of who comes and goes. Everyday appliances can also be automated, allowing you to preheat the oven or start a load of wash when you're leaving the office.
5. Enjoy music and video in every room. Video screens and in-wall speakers throughout your house provide entertainment as you go from room to room; there's even a party mode that plays favorite tunes throughout the house. When your guests leave, you can go back to enjoying different music sources in different rooms - everything controllable from a smartphone, tablet, or in-wall touch panels. We're talking streaming from a central library on your home network or from Internet-based services such as Netflix and Pandora. No more fumbling with discs.
6. Bring the theater home. Forget about going to the movies and paying twenty bucks for popcorn, soda and a ticket. Create a fully-automated retreat in the basement: Walk in, sit down, put your beer in a cupholder, and hit Play Movie on the remote to dim the lights and start the movie.
7. Conserve energy. Having the capability to turn off or dim every light in the house with one button press, control motorized window shades and call up a thermostat app on your phone can all contribute to lower utility bills. You can even monitor household energy usage to see where it makes sense to cut back.
8. Build a system that meets your needs. Home automation is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Today's control platforms are fully customizable allowing a professional to design a system that not only does what you want but can be operated from any device or combination of devices.
9. Use your imagination. With the help of a home tech pro, almost anything is possible and remote controllable - from electronic weathervanes and gas fireplaces to snow melting systems and flood detectors to motorized windows and gates.
10. Automation is fun! If there's a common thread running through all of the above, it can be summed up in three letters: f-u-n. Not only does home automation expand your entertainment options and make entertaining guests a breeze; whole-home control also gives mundane tasks like heating and lighting control a futuristic kind of cool.
To learn more about home automation options, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professionals in your area.