Builder Focus: Affordable Home Automation Systems and Solutions

2014-01-11T11:45:00Z Builder Focus: Affordable Home Automation Systems and SolutionsMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
January 11, 2014 11:45 am  • 

Have you seen AT&T’s new Digitial Life commercial? You know, the one where the parents are sitting on the deck of their cabin when the kids drive up.

In case you missed it, the kids swung by the house first, so obviously they left it looking at least as good as they found it. Because that always happens, right? Well, for when it doesn't, AT&T is rolling out their Digital Life Security program areas (which is currently only available in select areas).

With AT&T Digital Life, the doubtful dad pulls out his cell phone and automatically shuts off what appears to be every light in the house, a running kitchen faucet, coffee maker and TV, locks the front door and arms the security system.

According to a new market research report “Americas Smart Homes Market by Product (Security, Access, Lighting, Entertainment, Energy Management, HVAC, Ballast & Battery Pack), Service (Installation & Repair, Renovation & Customization) and Geography - Analysis & Forecast (2013 - 2020),” published by MarketsandMarkets, the total market for the Americas smart homes market will be worth $22.4 billion by 2020.

According to the report, the home automation industry has experienced rapid growth and popularity despite its youth. Consumer adoption of the technology is largely due to the many benefits of a smart home. Industry growth is also a result of homeowner’s priorities.

“Home residents often make security and comfort their top priority and, therefore, new developments have been recorded, that have been encouraging people to upgrade from traditional homes to smart homes.”

As demonstrated by the AT&T commercial, the fast pace and ever growing possibilities of technology are exciting. New products are available almost daily to fill our homes full of hi-tech solutions that make our lives more automated, convenient and energy efficient.

Many homeowners already rely on home networks for data, for video and to assist with many daily tasks. These networks are increasingly being integrated with television systems, picture distribution and business VPN connections as well as many other uses.

From home security and the potential for “eyes everywhere,” smart homes allow you to control lighting and appliances throughout your home remotely from a smartphone. You can dim lights while watching a movie or having dinner, or schedule lights to turn on and off while you are on vacation. Stay green and save energy by checking to see if any lights were left on, or turn off anything that is plugged in.

Consider using a programmable thermostat to increase energy management and reduce your utility bill by regulating thermostat use and temperatures based on your family's schedule.

When it comes to safety, smart homes also include the latest biometric (fingerprint) and encrypted eKey door locks, communicating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and wireless sensors on doors and windows to ensure that everyone is protected from dangers inside and outside.

Based on early reports from the International Consumer Electronics Show, where a myriad of smart home systems and devices were on display, this growing market offers plenty of options to choose from when it comes to keeping your home connected and secure. Look for those that prove to be the most practical and useful – yet simple and affordable – to be welcomed in our homes this year.

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