History of Home Automation

While automation of homes has been the stuff of science fiction for many years, the widespread introduction of electricity into homes in the early part of the 20th century starting making it a reality. The introduction of home appliances in the 1920s started laying the groundwork for automation and some basic home automation systems were displayed to consumers at the World’s Fairs in the 1930s.

The first “wired homes” started appearing in the 1960s and the term “smart house” was coined in 1984 by the American Association of Homebuilders. Home automation began to gain ground in 1990 as the computing devices to make it a reality started to become small enough and inexpensive enough for integration into typical households. While the technology is still advancing, most homeowners do not have systems yet which the industry attributes to a lack of standardization among controllers. This lack of standardization is an important consideration for those buying home automation controllers.

Types of Home Automation

Home automation can be used for a variety of systems already installed in many houses. The typical types of home automation controls are for heating and cooling, lighting, security, and recreational electronics like stereo systems or televisions.

Heating and Cooling

By far the most used form of home automation is for heating and cooling systems. The majority of homes with centralized heating and air conditioning units have a central controller that features a thermostat which is set to regulate the temperature. Homeowners no longer have to go to the heater or air conditioner and turn it on or off as the temperature requires, it is adjusted remotely with settings input by the homeowner. By automating the air conditioning and heating, residents of the home can lie comfortably on their bed or couch as the automation takes care of maintaining the temperature. Some digital systems allow the homeowner to set multiple heating and cooling programs based on the time of day and the day of the week based on whether the owners are home or not as well.