Your home has so many working parts, and a good number of them rely on electricity. And maybe you find yourself wondering if you’ve turned off every device before leaving in the morning. And maybe you have a number of flat screens, computers and kitchen appliances. And maybe you’re tired of wondering: “Are all the lights off, is the TV on, did I unplug the toaster?”
It’s time to abandon the stress and turn your dwelling into a “smart home.” A technology that began in 1975 when the first system —X10 — was developed, smart homes work by connecting your appliances and devices, and allowing them and you to communicate. In other words, anything that works on electricity can be added to your home network, giving you the authority to control every device from your computer or smartphone.
According to ON World, which performs research reports and customized studies on smart technology markets, cloud services for smart home applications will increase by a 103% compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015. In addition, an ON World survey of more than 500 consumers found that 4–in-5 are “interested” or “very interested” in such applications as security, safety, lighting and energy management.
“Demand for energy solutions has invigorated the smart home market, and cloud-based innovations are making smart home services accessible for the average household,” said Mareca Hatler, ON World’s research director, in a company release.
Smart home technology has come a long way since the X10, and a number of companies are jumping on board. So, healthy home readers, meet Iris, HEMS, Nexia and La Crosse alerts.
• Iris, Lowe’s affordable, cloud-based home management system, will allow you to control and interact with your home from anywhere with a smartphone or computer.
“Lowe’s, through Iris, is working to connect the broadest range of products in the industry and deliver the benefits of a smart home solution that were previously only available to the most affluent consumers,” said Greg Bridgeford, Lowe’s executive VP business development.
Thanks to Iris, users will be able to control thermostats, locks, lighting and appliances; and monitor and protect their homes with video cameras and door, motion and fire sensors.
Iris will be available in Lowe’s stores and on Lowes.com in mid-2012.
• Toshiba’s home energy management system (HEMS) integrates and manages a smart meter, electric vehicles, solar power generation systems and digital consumer products. Control of energy use will be automatic, allowing optimal operation.
According to the company website, Toshiba promises it “will take an active part in developing the most advanced management systems that can be used in combination with smart meters and smart grids, while providing products and management services to realize smart communities.”
As an example of Toshiba’s new system, home appliances running during peak demand times will be powered by less expensive stored electricity, which means more dollars in your pocket and reduced demand load on the utility.
• During the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, Ingersoll Rand relaunched its Schlage LiNK system as part of Nexia Home Intelligence, its smart home automation system that leverages the technologies of Trane and Schlage, two of the company’s brands. Nexia allows you to remotely manage a number of home functions, including door locks, heating and cooling, video surveillance, lights, shades and energy usage with a computer and most smartphones.
“With its advanced technologies, Nexia makes a home truly responsive to homeowners’ growing desire for safety, comfort and efficiency while supporting today’s mobile lifestyles,” said John Evans, president of Residential Security at Ingersoll Rand.
For example, users can turn on the heat with a Trane ComfortLink II Control, unlock the front door with Schlage locks and switch on lights away from home.
• Monitor the temperature and humidity in your home anywhere with La Crosse Alerts (pictured above), using a mobile phone or Web browser. Custom text and email alerts lets you know when the temperature or humidity falls out of your desired range, when the battery is low or when the connection is lost for one hour. La Crosse Alerts help you protect people, pets, plants, food and valuable from dangerous humidity and temperature levels.
Have you adopted smart home technology? Sound off below.