Bluebonnet season in Texas is one of my favorite times of the year. Many Texans monitor the "Bluebonnet Watch" to catch the best displays across the state. In Texas, Bluebonnet Season is a
Home Automation in Dallas
It seems that more and more the trajectory of the way our technology is evolving in the modern world is with the goal in place of giving us less to do so we can do more of what we love. We’re past the point where we just want tools that do more. Now we want tools that do more and do it for us too. This is no less true when it comes to the homes we live in. Whether you’re a long time homeowner in Dallas or you’ve just joined the Dallas real estate market, you should know about the increasing trend of smart homes and home automation.
That’s right, we’re talking about options for Dallas home automation. Let’s investigate some of the most exciting forms of home automation technology, including how your current or future home in Dallas can be automated to your benefit, both in comfort and energy efficiency. We’ll also go over other forms of automation from lights and music to security and more.
Defining Home Automation
Before we get into specific products out on the market today and what they can do, let’s take a broader look at this phenomenon known as home automation. Home automation is a trend that’s sweeping the nation as it simultaneously becomes more robust and capable and more affordable. What once we left only to realm of the rich and most luxurious is now available to the common man. It’s a tale as old as time: as technology progresses, it becomes both better and more reachable to the masses. Computers once started out as a very expensive room-sized toy for the super rich and now can be found in most people’s pockets.
So how is home automation defined? Home automation or smart home technology is building automation for the home. It involves the control and automation of lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and security, as well as home appliances such as washers, ovens or refrigerators and freezers. Wi-Fi is often used for remote monitoring and control. Home devices, when remotely monitored and controlled via the internet, are an important constituent of the Internet of Things. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a "gateway" from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services.
So now a little on the history of home automation. How did we get from there to here? Essentially you can tie the origin of home automation to early labor-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution and led to the introduction of washing machines, water heaters, refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.
In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology, X10, was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signaling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available. By 1978, X10 products included a 16 channel command console, a lamp module, and an appliance module. Soon after came the wall switch module and the first X10 timer.
Jumping forward, by 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed. Home automation is finally breaking into the mainstream. It covers a broad range of products. The term may be used for isolated programmable devices, like thermostats and sprinkler systems, but home automation more accurately describes homes in which nearly everything, lights, appliances, electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems, are hooked up to a remotely controllable network. From a home security perspective, this also includes your alarm system, and all of the doors, windows, locks, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras and any other sensors that are linked to it.
The Basics: Lighting and Security
Some of the first things people think of when it comes to smart home technology is automatic lights and automatic security systems, and for good reason. These two types of home automation have both been around for ages and are often the first types that new comers to home automation dabble in.
Let’s take a look at lighting first. Today’s home automation systems make it easy for you to use your smartphone or tablet to control the lights in your home. You can switch on your lights and set them to an appropriate brightness, all while you’re away or lounging on your couch. Depending on your wants and needs, you can automate your lights to turn on and off on a schedule, remotely, or when certain conditions are triggered. A lot of people use this to the effect of having lights turn on when rooms are entered and off when they’re existed using motion sensing technology.
Security is of utmost importance to most of us when it comes to our homes. We want to have peace of mind that our families and belongings are safe and automated security systems can bring that peace of mind. A home automation system will allow you to check, and change, if necessary, the status of your locks and security system remotely. Also, many systems allow remote monitoring of your home security cameras.
To give an example, take a look at the Smart Lock, a home security technology. It includes hardware that is essentially a wireless device hub that provides your Smart Lock with a 24/7 internet connection. It plugs into any standard power outlet and connects to your home network wirelessly. With it activated you can "buzz in" guests through your existing Smart Lock app from anywhere you have an Internet connection. This way you don't have to be physically present to use the bluetooth connection nor does your guest need to download the app to receive a temporary key.
Automating your HVAC makes a lot of sense. After all, it’s a feature of your home that is used pretty much all of the time yet you often don’t notice or think about it, especially when it’s working as it should. So it makes sense to take some of the control out of the manual realm and in to the automatic.
Today there’s more options when it comes to HVAC automation than ever before. The ability to get real time data on how your HVAC system is performing and control your unit remotely from your smartphone, gives homeowners the power to maximize their home’s energy efficiency, but only if they understand how.
Energy efficiency is a specific area where this can be most useful. A smart thermostat can be programmed in a number of ways to save you money and help your system perform better, longer. From timely starts and stops at hours in which you are and aren’t home, to only running in certain zones of your house while you are home, a smart system can take away the burden of constantly monitoring your HVAC system to cut costs.
So let’s take a look at an example product. The Aprilaire Model 8800 is interesting because it can easily be adapted into an existing home automation system. Rather than limiting temperature control through a proprietary app, the Model 8800 can be integrated into the home automation system, allowing the user to include temperature control and comfort in a single, easy-to-use solution. The new Model 8826 system controller integrated with Aprilaire’s Communicating Thermostats creates a turnkey home or building HVAC automation system that is simple and affordable for customers to use. It can conveniently control and manage up to 24 Aprilaire thermostats through a Web browser. All thermostats can be scheduled easily to save energy. The controller offers a simple-to-use point-and-click interface.
If you’re looking for something even more centralized and all encompassing you might be interested in what Nexia has to offer. Their Home Intelligence system allows a homeowner to control locks, lights, thermostats, cameras, and more in their home using wireless technology. The Nexia Home Intelligence Bridge is a home automation hub that easily connects to a router. It uses a Z-Wave wireless signal to communicate with the other Z-Wave-enabled devices throughout the home. It allows the homeowner to control the home from anywhere with Web-connected computers, tablets, or smartphones. According to the company, it is working with partners, like Trane and American Standard Air, to optimize HVAC performance by adjusting thermostat settings to reduce energy consumption without impacting comfort, and to provide remote diagnostics to HVAC contractors.
Why talk about cutting edge automation technology without talking about what the future might look like? After all, automation is the future. So what does the future have in store for our homes? More automation and more connectivity is a certainty. Beyond that anything is possible. You can’t talk about the future of home automation without mentioning the Internet of Things. That’s the catch-all phrase for the trend toward embedding sensors and microchips in everyday objects in a way that allows them to be connected to a network, like, say, the Internet. With the Internet of Things, your washing machine, for example, can send an alert to your phone when it’s time to move your clothes over to the dryer.
Analysts expect the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things to reach between 26 billion5 and 30 billion6 by 2020. And the more these connected devices you have access to in your home, the more you’ll be able to accomplish with even the most basic home automation system.
In just 40 years, complete home automation systems have gone from high-tech curiosities to affordable and accessible modern home conveniences. They're so simple now that just about anyone can take advantage of home automation to simplify their lives and enjoy what was once a luxury of the wealthy and tech-savvy. In another 40 years, we'll wonder how we ever lived without them.
Home Automation and Your Dallas Real Estate Agent
The future is here and it’s smarter than ever before. But do you know the smart way to go about finding a home in Dallas for sale of your very own? The first step is always to find yourself a reputable and experienced Dallas realtor who knows the market and can get you everything on your must-have list. So don’t hesitate, if you’re looking for the home in Dallas of your dreams, contact us today!
Although not originally from Texas, it has become my home after 30+ years of living primarily in the DFW area. After working several years in retail, I fell into the real estate industry while I was g....