Home automation

Technology in the home is getting more popular, and is being integrated more into the design of new homes.

New home technologies seem to become strikingly more advanced every year. This is largely due to the growth of home automation, technology that allows homeowners to centralize the control of home functions. Home automation is meant to make home living faster, safer, more convenient and more energy efficient. Despite the growth of the industry, some people are hesitant to install features that will make their home feel more like a spaceship than an actual home. Companies have made it a priority to create sleek looking displays that are easily integrated into a tactful design. Technology can be overbearing, and many homeowners don’t want it to distract from the comfortable feel and atmosphere of their homes.

The following are ways homeowners can integrate new technology while maintaining the qualities they always loved about their homes.

Learning to hide it

Most homes have unused or unseen spaces, where homeowners can install wires, switches and control panels. Not everyone wants to come home after a long day and be overwhelmed by flashing screens and blinking lights. The key is to hide technology so you can enjoy its benefits, without ever knowing that its there.

One great example of this is entertainment systems. Flat screen TV’s can be hid away in nooks, or even behind rotating pictures or mirrors. Some homeowners even build electronic lifts to bring a TV our from under a cabinet or bed. Speakers are also easy to conceal. They can be built into furniture or built directly in to walls and ceilings. If painted the same color as the walls, speakers can be almost undetectable. Wires can be run under carpets or hid behind furniture.

No one understands the idea of hiding technology better than Bill Gates. Gates describes that in building his technology laden home, “I wanted a house that would accommodate sophisticated, changing technology, but in an unobtrusive way that made it clear that technology was the servant, not the master. I didn’t want the house to be defined by its use of technology.”

The newest technologies are making “invisible” technology more of a possibility. For example, researchers at New York Times labs have created a bathroom mirror that displays important information. It can tell you what the weather is like on any given day, map out your schedule for the day and even tell what clothes you should wear. Users can communicate with the mirror with voice command or hand signals, making it a real life magic mirror. When you aren’t using it for such purposes, the device acts as just what it looks like, a mirror. Technology like this is gives you the benefits of advanced technology with the feel of an everyday home.

The role of home automation

Perhaps the best example of integrating technology in an unobtrusive way is found in the exploding home automation industry. Companies like Vivint, and ADT are still industry leaders, but there are more and more companies trying to break into the home automation scene. This is a great situation for home owners. Technology is becoming cheaper, yet more advanced than ever before. Homeowners who use automation tend to find that the technology is not distracting or overwhelming. In fact, it frees up time for them to do the things that really matter in life. Here are several examples.

Many people are rushed in the mornings, trying to get ready for work while preparing lunch, locking up the house and turning off all home appliances. Automation takes care of each of these time wasters, freeing up time to get ready for the day. Automation allows homeowners to lock their doors, activate security systems and tap into security video feed from the office, on vacation, or at any other remote location.

Automation can be also used to enhance home entertainment without making a home feel saturated with technology. Automation entertainment allows homeowners to control their TV’s, DVD players, music and more all from a tablet or smartphone. With the push of a few buttons, a homeowner can access hundreds of movies, adjust sound, dim the lighting and even pop their popcorn all while sitting on the couch.

Home automation also plays a large role in energy savings. There are a lot of Automated lighting devices as well as smart thermostats take care of the things that needlessly waste energy. Many of these devices can pick up on user habits and adjust technology accordingly. While energy saving devices don’t look any different from the normal ones, they have the potential of saving home owners hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills.

David Glenn is a technology fanatic and business enthusiast who loves to keep up with the advancements in each. When he writes, he draws from his experience of over 30 years as a business owner and entrepreneur.