This is the age of the automated home. “Smart homes,” as they are sometimes called, provide the ability to control everything around a house, from pet feeders to motorized window shades, by means of placing a simple command via a computer interface, a remote control, through panels mounted on the walls, or through a programmable voice command.
Many features of automated homes are simple and require little money to implement. These include devices that will turn lights off and on when someone claps his or her hands, or programmable coffee makers that automatically yield fresh coffee at a predetermined hour of the morning.
Some automated features cost more and may require professional installation, as well as a more complex operating system. Surveillance cameras or certain types of security systems fall into this category.
Hubs are devices that can be programmed to operate a number of different automated devices from one central location. They commonly work for devices that use Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave or Bluetooth, and can control stereos, television sets, lighting, surveillance cameras and other devices around the house.
Devices that support voice automation are becoming more popular as technological developments offer vast improvements over similar devices developed earlier. Audio concierge devices, when pared with web automation services, have the potential to control home devices by spoken command. One can use an audio concierge to control a thermostat, lights, music, or even certain brands of essential oil diffusing equipment.
More and more automated devices are being manufactured and implemented as the popularity of home automation catches on. Here are some of the more commonly used devices in play today:
Automated thermostats are currently manufactured by only a handful of companies. Their primary goal is to make controlling household temperatures easier, by learning the homeowner’s preferences and scheduling, and then adjusting temperatures accordingly. One of their biggest selling features, however, is their ability to save money on energy costs.
Their very presence of an automated thermostat tends to make homeowners more conscious about energy conservation. They can be operated from the owners’ smart phones, and enable temperatures to be turned up or down remotely. Manufacturers claim smart thermostats pay for themselves after a relatively brief period of time.
Semi-automated robot vacuum cleaners have been around for awhile now, but have experienced vast improvements over the last couple of years. These new, improved versions are on the pricey side, but their cleaning capacity is outstanding. They can be scheduled to automatically begin vacuuming at specific times, regardless of whether the owner is nearby. The round device skims the floor quietly and methodically, using a loose grid system. When it is done, it automatically returns to its base.
Motorized Window Shades
There was a time when motorized window shades were only seen in James Bond movies. Now, their effectiveness, convenience and ease of use places them in the ranks of other automated devices rapidly gaining popularity. Motorized shades work on virtually any window covering, but are especially convenient to use for heavy drapery that spans large vertical and horizontal spaces.
Motorized shades offer home owners simple, safe and stylish ways with which to open, close, raise and lower shades at will, from either a wall switch, a handheld remote control or from a programmable timer, allowing the owner to control his or her window coverings from both local and remote locations at any time. They also help preserve the life of the window coverings and help keep them cleaner, by requiring less handling.