From classic cartoons to futuristic theme park attractions, people have been talking about “the home of tomorrow” for decades. Looking at some of the new home automation technology on the market this year, it seems that the home of tomorrow is actually the home of today. Some of it is super-fancy, some can save you money, and all of the following are real things you can install in your home right now.
1. Voice activated lights
The fundamental problem with standard lighting systems is that you need to be able to see the switch to be able to turn them on. Voice activated lights solve that problem by linking an entire room’s lighting system to simple spoken commands. This means more than just “on and off” settings.
Modern voice activated lights have dimmer settings and also have a convenient power-saving component that detects sound, or the lack thereof, and switches off the lights when no one is in the room. Voice activated lighting systems tend to retail for around $100 and many have subscription services for around $15 per month.
2. Kitchen sensors
It’s not exactly the same as having a robot chef, but a kitchen fit with a variety of sensors is the next best thing. Strategically installing sensors can save you time or help you when your hands are occupied, like motion sensors that activate certain appliances when you access different parts of your kitchen.
Imagine having a motion sensor on a freezer shelf that preheats the oven whenever you take out a frozen pizza or even just a sink that turns on when your hands are under it. Designer model motion sensor appliances can be a bit pricey, upwards of $600, but standalone and programmable sensors can be as cheap as $20 per unit.
3. Smart Security
Though we tend to think of design and lifestyle features when we think of upgrading our home technology, some of the biggest strides in home automation have been in the field of security. Smart security systems make use of everything from compact cameras with solar power generation to monitoring from designated mobile devices.
Current security systems let you see live feeds from your home’s cameras right from your smartphone or tablet, while also automatically alerting you and your security company in an emergency. Most mobile-linked home security systems cost $200 to $300 for a starter kit, then a minimum of $10 per month for service.
4. Digital Backsplashes
One of the most versatile and visually impressive innovations in home automation, the digital backsplash is essentially a smart wall. Typically installed in place of kitchen tiles but possible to place anywhere in the home, a digital backsplash is a touch screen interface that allows you to connect to the Internet, check your security system and project images for crisp, changeable wall art. It’s definitely a high-price item, potentially costing over $1000 per panel.
A growing field
From the high-tech and flashy to the simple and practical, home automation is a growing field with a lot of potential. Installing features like these can make your space more functional, as well as increase the value of your home. What do you think of these developments? Would you find them to be useful? Too fussy? Kind of creepy?
Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.