Smart Homes – Simply Put

What is a smart home?

For many of us, smart homes are those fancy, high-tech, expensive systems that turn lights off and on,  techpiledclose blinds, and do other trivial things for the ultra-lazy. It is the elaborate way that the infamous Bill Gates enters his home by pressing his hand onto a scanner. They are the sentient science fiction robots that take over our homes. For seasoned techies, it is a collection of cheap switches that turn off and on by remote. Most people recall these systems as the offspring of “The Clapper,” that archaic device that allowed you to turn lights off and on at the expense of clapping your hands numb. While most of these are based on half-truths and part myths, these only cover a tiny little section of what smart homes actually are. realisticmag

At the core of the term, a smart home is a home that is not dumb. Most homes today are blocks of stacked wood, wrapped in more wood, covered with vinyl, and containing a collection of mechanical and electrical systems. The real estate industry sells giant blocks of wood sitting on piles of dirt and grass for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Exciting? Not really. Smart home systems take giant blocks of wood and make them useful. Therefore, a smart home is a home that achieves some level of functionality besides being a pile of wood. This functionality varies based on the systems as there is a very long list of technology available. mommasays

What kind of different technology is available?

The grandfather of smart home technology is X10. This technology sends signals through existing electrical wires of your home. It has been around since the 70’s and has the most available hardware for different applications. Moving on with power line tech, there is the new UPB. It is much like X10 but it can run controls that are more complicated without being as fussy about power line noise. Continuing with wired technology, there is always the Ethernet devices, which use network cables like the ones used to connect computers, which require these wires run throughout a home. Then there is the latest trend in RF — or radio frequency — technology. This uses signals similar to cordless phones and wireless networks. A device sends out a signal, the desired target receives it, and it does its thing. There are several RF solutions from Z-wave to Crestron. RF solutions work great for retro-fit — or already built — installations. This leaves smart home technology to three choices: run CAT5 networking cables everywhere, shoot signals over electricity, or toss wireless devices around the home. Hard to choose just one? Just select a system controller that handles all of them. Nothing is worse than spending a few thousand bucks on technology that disappears two years from now. There are few systems that offer this ability, such as a controller or software from Homeseer. For more Info please visit these sites:-

So, I now have a fancy way to turn lights off and on. Yay.

Not so fast. There is more to the PC-based controllers. Certain forward-looking companies are taking smart homes to the next step… being smart. Traditional hardware lets you program some trivial light controls, turns things off, and arms your security system. Well, the very near future holds some promising developments. In the works now are smart home systems that allow you to ask a question and receive an answer. Where is the nearest Italian restaurant? Does my commute to work have any traffic? I have a headache, I am nauseated, I vomited, and I have diarrhea… what are these symptoms of? How about developments that turn annoying smoke alarm screeching into an actual warning: “The kitchen is on fire.” There are even robotic lawn mowers that actually work harder than you do. Why stop at menial tasks?


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