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What Is Home Automation?

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African American couple at home
Rolf Sjogren/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Ask five different people what home automation is and you will probably get five different answers. Home automation uses technology to make your everyday tasks in the home (or office) simpler, safer, or less expensive. Home automation systems can control lights and dimmers, create or enhance home theater and entertainment systems, strengthen home security, automate locks and doors, and increase energy efficiency.

Is Home Automation Affordable?

Home automation doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Systems are designed to be expandable, allowing you to grow your system as you can afford to. Light control starter kits are available for under USD $60. Most enthusiasts start out with a basic system (dimmable remote control lights) and build onto their system as they learn about the additional capabilities the technology offers.

Practical And Fun To Use

Home automation can be an addictive hobby and the technology has its own loyal following of enthusiasts. Systems are easy to install and don’t require a technical background, making home automation available to anyone with an interest. Practical applications of home automation exist for everyday problems, too. For example, with the unsteady economy many homeowners have turned to home automation to help reduce their monthly utility bills by controlling unnecessary electricity and water consumption. Individuals desiring increased security have also used home automation products to create affordable solutions that avoid monthly security system charges.

Apartment Owners Can Also Benefit

Many people who rent their homes shy away from home automation believing the technology is only for homeowners. Several home automation products plug into an outlet and require no wiring or home modification. Renters not wishing to alter their space find that home automation products work in large apartment buildings (or office buildings) with no outside interference from neighboring tenants.

Examples of Home Automation

Using a remote control to turn on a light across the room or unlocking the front door as you pull into the driveway are examples of using home automation. Turning on your home sprinkler system with your cell phone or logging in from your computer at work to view your home security cameras are also examples of using home automation. Home automation includes anything that gives you remote or automatic control of the electronics inside it.

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