What to know about au­tomat­ing your home

The Progress-Index - At Home - - FRONT PAGE -

The “con­nected home” is one of the big­gest ar­eas of tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion to­day, with smart ap­pli­ances, learn­ing ther­mostats, app-driven lights, and in­tel­li­gent door locks tak­ing cen­ter stage in home im­prove­ment stores and mag­a­zines. In fact, by 2017, an es­ti­mated 36 mil­lion homes through­out North Amer­ica and Europe will be smart.

For some con­sumers, the con­cept of a “smart home” can be over­whelm­ing. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The Ba­sics

Home au­to­ma­tion gives you re­mote and au­to­matic con­trol of a wide ar­ray of de­vices in your home -- it’s ideal for con­ve­nience and con­trol, and some de­vices can help with money sav­ings. Home au­to­ma­tion can also alert you to events that you might want to know about while you’re gone, like leaks, kids ar­riv­ing home or se­cu­rity breaches.

For your furry fam­ily mem­ber, your smart home can dis­trib­ute pre-de­ter­mined amounts of food on a sched­ule so you don’t have to worry about your pet miss­ing din­ner while you’re stuck in traf­fic.

Is it Right for Your Home?

Not ev­ery­one is in a place to in­stall a full home au­to­ma­tion sys­tem -- lit­er­ally and fi­nan­cially, as apart­ment liv­ing, rent­ing, low cash flow, ex­pen­sive in­stal­la­tion fees and ad­vanced tech­ni­cal set-up can all be lim­i­ta­tions.

How­ever, with stand-alone home au­to­ma­tion de­vices and apps, you can make your home smart with­out in­te­grat­ing a whole­home au­to­ma­tion net­work. For ex­am­ple, smart locks, light­ing, irons, cof­fee mak­ers, se­cu­rity cam­eras and re­frig­er­a­tors can all be con­trolled by smart­phones with­out the need for a fully in­te­grated sys­tem.

First Things First

In a re­cent an­a­lyst re­port from Nex­tMar­ket, the smart lock mar­ket will grow to $3.6 bil­lion world­wide by 2019. With se­cu­rity and ac­cess con­trol lead­ing smart home prod­uct adop­tion, a log­i­cal place to start is at your front door. Con­sider try­ing Kwik­set Kevo, pow­ered by UniKey, which was the first smart lock on the mar­ket. It makes it possi- ble to open the door by sim­ply touch­ing the dead­bolt -- with­out re­mov­ing you smart­phone from your purse or pocket.

Via the Kevo app, users can grant and re­voke ac­cess to the house elec­tron­i­cally, view a lock his­tory and get no­ti­fied when some­one locks or un­locks the door with­out con­nect­ing to the home net­work or a power source. Avail­able at many ma­jor re­tail­ers, it in­stalls eas­ily, within a few min­utes, with just a Phillips head screw­driver, mak­ing it an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of how one prod­uct can usher your home into the era of au­to­ma­tion.

From there it’s easy to move on to take smarter con­trol of your home ap­pli­ances and light­ing, and you can make as many or as few changes as your bud­get and imag­i­na­tion al­low.

Smart home solutions are grant­ing home­own­ers ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and fea­tures that were pre­vi­ously un­avail­able. Bot­tom line: you don’t have to be rich or have a ful­ly­con­nected home to en­joy the ben­e­fits. If you’re con­sid­er­ing get­ting on board the trend, do your re­search and find the best tech­nol­ogy and prod­ucts for you.


A touch to open door is shown. For some con­sumers, the con­cept of a ‘smart home’ can be over­whelm­ing.

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