By Mike Tomlinson
I remember when I bought my first Apple device. It was a first generation iPod Touch back in 2009, and beyond the ability to play just music and videos, I was ecstatic that I could download an app that allowed me (via my home Wi-Fi signal) to remotely control music playing through iTunes on my PC. Nowadays Apple’s technology lets you control more than just music in iTunes, thanks to the iPad and Apple TV; but, my first foray into home automation was an exciting first experience I’ll never forget.
Domotics—the futuristic term given to home automation—has come a long way since the World of Tomorrowland. Although you could technically call the first automatic coffee makers the first ‘smart’ home appliances, the field has expanded immensely over the last few years as companies have embraced the domotics revolution. For example, PG&E has started installing Smart Meters on some customers’ homes, enabling a deeper look at energy usage and providing energy alerts when your consumption bumps you up into another pricing tier. When it comes to the connected home, hardware manufacturers and cable providers/ISPs are viciously competing to fully automate your house.
Xfinity Home, a new service launched by Comcast, provides not only a touch screen portal for controlling your home security, thermostat and indoor/outdoor lights (among other smart appliances); but it also enables you to “log in” to your home via the internet, perhaps while you’re on vacation, to a customized dashboard where you can control all smart appliances in your home remotely. While this blog is a far cry from an endorsement, Xfinity Home’s service package is competitive and should usher in additional competing services as home automation becomes further refined over the coming years.
We encourage you to take a look at Engage’s Storify on home automation where you’ll see several new smart appliances available for your home, as well as a look at some inexpensive home automation projects for the weekend warrior. Are you eager to automate your home, or do you prefer the rustic feel of unintelligent 20th century appliances? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!