While the home-automation market is still in a bit of a Wild West state, the combined factors of industry consolidation and consumers’ growing interest in interoperability are forcing some order into the chaos of available products.
Some of the greatest innovations in history have occurred in products that were previously considered commonplace, giving users capabilities they didn’t even know they wanted. Such was the case when Nest Labs Inc. came to market with its Nest learning thermostat.
Luxury homes are often a launching point for technology, such as home automation, security, lighting management, and entertainment systems, that could become commonplace throughout the residential market.
Warwick Stirling hopes for a more meaningful relationship with his refrigerator. You see, they just haven’t been talking as much as he’d like. There was the time, recently, when he would have appreciated knowing just how warm this normally cold-hearted appliance was feeling inside.
Home automation is where the worlds of information technology (IT) professionals and electrical contractors come together. They have a lot to teach each other, and they can have great success when they work together.
Just a few years ago, home automation control systems were seen as toys for the tech-savvy rich. Push-button window treatments, camera-monitored security and lighting scene-setting capabilities all were seen as extravagances—and, in many cases, each was individually controlled.
With the green movement going full steam ahead, homeowners expect energy efficiency in both new construction and remodels. Baby boomers and subsequent generations demand energy-saving solutions that shrink utility bills and are easy to install and maintain.
Two decades ago, a home automation installer usually could be described either as a hobbyist or an engineer with a penchant for designing complex systems for his or her own home. Few others could work with or expand these systems.
Many electrical contractors, electricians and electrical inspectors have struggled with the requirements in the National Electrical Code (NEC) for placement of lights, receptacles and switches in bathtub and shower areas. Can receptacles be installed within proximity of the bathtub or shower edge?
Freeway congestion, 60-hour work weeks, urban gridlock and family obligations have driven the work-and-play-at-home trend. Buyers want everything from home offices with high-speed Internet to home fitness rooms with the latest exercise gizmos and equipment.