At the 1934 World's Fair in Chicago the "home of the future" was revealed.
This automated home has morphed into the smart home, courtesy of the Internet, sensors and connectivity. The modern automated home can do more than turn on our heating and our lights, it can actually think for us.
The terms "home automation," "connected devices" and "Internet of Things" are often used interchangeably, but they are distinct parts of the Smart Home concept.
Home automation: where a home's electrical devices are connected to a central system that automates those devices based on user input.
Connected devices: these devices know or are able to anticipate what a user needs. At first, this intelligence comes from user programming, but with time the device can learn and adapt to patterns and interact with us.
Internet of Things (IoT): with a combination of sensors, smarts and systems, IoT connects everyday objects to a network, enabling those objects to complete tasks and communicate with each other, with no user input.
Eventually a truly smart home will know who you are, where you are and what you want, all without us having to tell it anything. Pretty cool right?
Benefits of the smart home
1. Savings: Connected devices such as learning thermostats, smart sprinklers, WiFi enabled lights, electricity monitoring outlets and water heater modules cut down on energy and water use.
2. Control: controlled remotely via apps on smartphones and tablets.
3. Convenience: smart locks, sensors in your fridge, WiFi door bells.
4. Security: WiFi enabled cameras, connected motion sensors and smart smoke alarms can all be monitored from inside or outside.
5. Safety: helps prevent accidents from turning into disasters because they can communicate with you directly where ever you are.
6. Senior independence: WiFi connected cameras with two-way communication can help loved ones keep an eye on the elderly when they can't physically check on them.
Some may worry about security but it requires a lot more skill and intelligence than most thieves possess to break into a smart home. Strong passwords that are changed frequently, plus encrypting your WiFi network will keep all but the most determined hackers out.
How to get started
All you need is a good WiFi connection, a wireless router, a smartphone or tablet, and possibly a central controller known as a hub. A hub acts as a central controller of a smart home. It helps all the devices, which are often using different protocols, communicate with each other. Now identify what your primary goal is it, security, smart lighting or convenience. What ever your goal you can usually replace what you have with a smart product. No rewiring or expensive installation required. Good luck and get started.