Is Your Home Smart Enough?

In 1996, an inventor patented a device that gave homeowners the ability to control devices by clapping their hands. Today, smarter digital devices perform similar feats that make homes safer, more productive and fun. You could spend a million dollars or more automating your home, but it doesn't take that much to begin exploring the intriguing world of home automation.

Manual Remote Control

While that famous clapping device still exists, mobile devices and remote controls help people make distant things happen from the comfort of their easy chairs. Purchase a wireless remote controller, for instance, and you can push a button to turn on a lamp or turn off a coffee pot from dozens of feet away. You can also add apps to your mobile device that provide the same type of control. You can even use a smartphone to unlock doors in your home or control your washer and dryer.

Automatic Home Control

Forget to adjust the thermostat leaving home in the winter, and you may return to find the cat shivering in the kitchen. Prevent that by installing a smart thermostat. After learning your temperature preferences, it controls your settings automatically and helps you lower energy costs. Homes also have the ability to adjust their own lighting when people install intelligent lighting systems. Install one, and you can customize settings to perform such tasks as dimming lights when people leave a room and turning them on when the sun goes down.

Smart Home Security

If your home can't send you a text message when it detects an intruder, it may not be smart enough when it comes to security. Several companies make systems and apps that provide these types of security alerts. Other apps enable homeowners to monitor their houses from remote locations and control alarm systems. Many of these mobile apps are free, but you will need to install the cameras, sensors and other hardware that make these types of smart security systems work.

Communication and Entertainment

You don't have to yell to communicate with people in another room if your home has a smart intercom system. Install one that has video capabilities, and you can see friends or family members in another room as you chat. Add a smart entertainment system to your home, and you can make music play anytime you like from any location. Some systems enable you to use your mobile device to select and play music, regardless of the room you're in.

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