There’s no denying that all of us like to do our research when we’re about to buy something. And if you’ve been doing research on home remodeling, or upgrading your home security system, there’s a high chance that you came across the term “home automation”.
It’s something that’s pretty popular nowadays, and yet we have a lot of users who don’t really understand everything it encompasses. If you’re one of those users, join us as we take a look at the history of home automation, and why it has grown to be as important as it is today.
The Applications of Home Automation
The most important application of home automation at the moment is definitely in the area of home security. While conventional security systems rely on you to check up on them in order to see if something has happened, one that has been integrated with home automation will let you know that something is happening, and will allow you to react swiftly if necessary.
To add to this, home automation has made our life a lot more convenient. This is most obvious in the smart lighting control systems, which is usually where people meet home automation for the first time. You actually get a whole network of light systems in your home that can all communicate with each other, and they can also communicate with you, too. You could have them do that by themselves, or you could have them do that with a centralized communicating device, i.e. a hub, but that depends on the manufacturer.
Copyright: Unsplash | CC0 Public Domain
HVAC usage is right up there in terms of popularity, too. You can have an overview of your entire heating and cooling system right on your smartphone. But even better, you can get a single smart thermostat that’s going to control things for you. It will learn your habits and preferences, and work things out for you.
And something we don’t see too much, yet can be very useful, is an occupancy-aware control system. It uses CO2 sensors, as well as smart meters, to trigger a predefined response when someone arrives at home. You may not think this does much, but it actually makes everything a lot more convenient for you.
A Bit of History
Now that you know how you can make use of it, let’s talk about its history. Today’s systems are very advanced, but things weren’t so when things started out. We’re talking about the 1900s when home automation meant labor-saving machines. It started out pretty basic, as soon as there was the distribution of electric power, and we got both electric and gas-powered home appliances that were basically self-contained. One product of all of that, for example, is the washing machine. Later on, we had dishwashers, refrigerators, sewing machines, and a host of other items.
Things did go stale for a bit because it wasn’t until 1975 that there was a significant development in the home automation industry. It was then that the X10 protocol was introduced, which allowed electronic devices that were meant for home automation to be able to communicate amongst themselves. What’s interesting is that even today, it’s the most widely available technology when it comes to home automation. Yes, there are alternatives that offer higher bandwidth or better performance, but it will be a while before any of them replaces X10.
Today, we’re seeing a rapid rise in popularity when it comes to home automation. Back in 2012, the United States had around 1.5 million systems that incorporated home automation installed around homes. It’s expected that by 2022, the home automation industry is going to be worth a whopping $80 billion dollars, which is a testament to how fast things are developing.
It Really Is Important
With the prices for a good system still being somewhat high, you might be wondering why you should be investing in home automation. If you go for a lot of devices, things will become costly pretty quickly, even if you opt for more budget-oriented devices.
Copyright: Unsplash | CC0 Public Domain
However, the key reason, as we mentioned earlier, is home security. When you’re buying security cameras, smart locks, and video doorbells, it makes sense to add motion sensors, for example, and automate alerts and notifications. Do you think that someone might break in through your back door? Have a motion sensor nearby that will trigger the surveillance camera. You’ll get a live view on your smartphone, and you’ll get the ability to call the authorities immediately.
And when you think about it, you’ll have a lot of appliances that aren’t running when they know you aren’t at home, so the difference in electricity bills over time will offset the cost of the system. It really is a great thing to invest in.