Bill Gates built the first fully automated home back when Microsoft hit the jackpot. Since then, public perception of the hi tech home has changed little. The perception, that "only the super rich can afford a home automation system" persists, but is it true? Just as computers and internet connected mobile devices are affordable by anybody today, so is the hi tech home. It's just a matter of how hi tech you want to go.
Home Automation Systems
Imagine being able to make your home look lived in when you're 1000 kilometres away on holidays. Imagine being able to take a peek inside to make sure everything is in order. How much would it cost to set up a home automation
system that would allow you to:
- Turn selected lights on and off at will?
- Open your curtains in the morning and close them at night?
- Alert you to movement inside or around the house and allow you to see what's going on?
- Unlock the front door to let a trusted neighbour in and lock it when they leave?
Depending on your budget, these home security
add-ons do cost more, but they are surprisingly affordable.
How the Hi Tech Home Works
A hi tech home begins with the home automation basics. There are 2 types of home automation systems:
- A wired system is like a home PC connected to the internet via a cable.
- A wireless system controls devices through a WiFi signal just as a WiFi connected mobile device does.
There are overlaps in these systems and with recent improvements in wireless technology, wireless systems are increasingly replacing or supplementing wired systems. Their functions are identical, though. They allow you to remotely communicate with anything in your home that is connected to them. Your control centre is the heart of the system. You communicate to the control system with a hand held device or your office computer and it passes your commands on to your door locks, your curtains or whatever else has been fitted with hardware and software that can pick up the signal and electronically carry out your commands.
How to Set Up an Affordable Hi Tech Home
If you're building a new home, the most affordable way to make it hi tech is to include a home automation system in your building plans. Start with a preliminary consultation with a professional home automation consultation & installation
service before you finalise your plans. They will probably recommend having an experienced home automation electrician
wire your home for a full system. This way, even if you don't start off with a fully automated hi tech home, you will be able to affordably add on features as you can afford them or as they become available.
The next thing you need to do is decide what you want to be automated now and what can wait till later. Some of the currently available technology includes:
- Lighting systems.
- Curtains and blinds.
- Home alarm systems.
- Home security service connections.
- Home entertainment systems.
- Heating and cooling.
- Home and garage access.
The Budget Hi Tech Home
Another way to have a hi tech home without going to the expense of having your home fully automated is to start buying more high tech appliances and other home electronics. Newer dishwashers, for instance, are more programmable than ever before and even have "smart technology" features such as sensors that detect when dishes are clean. Similar technology exists on washing machines that detect soiling and dryers that automatically shut off when clothes are dry.
Probably the most popular hi tech product on the market today is the home theatre
system. No longer content with surround sound and flat screen TVs, smart TVs now allow you to connect directly to the world wide web and subscribe to movie channels or services that offer thousands of films at the touch of a button or even a hand motion command. Turn down the lights, slip on your 3D glasses and some newer TVs can give you the full 3D experience in your own home.
The hi tech home is becoming more affordable as technology improves and demand increases. It's likely that hi tech living will become the norm in the future, so if you're building or renovating, think seriously about including high tech features in your plans. If current trends continue, in a few years, a home that is not hi tech will be as out of date as a home without electricity.