Connectivity is at the door. Are you ready to let it in?
Synopsis: Thanks to the Internet of Things and advances in mobile technology, the “smart home” is in our midst. But are we ready for it? In this article, author Sean Groom helps readers make sense of the rapidly evolving field of products and networking devices that enable homeowners to monitor and control their home’s appliances and mechanical systems from afar. In addition to basic information about how home automation works, Groom describes several plug-and-play products that enable even beginners to quickly and easily interact remotely with their home’s thermostat, security system, door locks, and appliances. A chart compares popular network systems, including Wink, Insteon, Iris, and WeMo, to help readers choose the one compatible with their mobile device. The concept of geofencing is explained, as is manufacturers’ use of data collected from users of internet-connected devices.
Not long ago I ran into a friend who had recently purchased a vacation house. When he asked if I wanted to see it and then reached for his smartphone, I assumed I’d be swiping through a digital photo album. Instead, he showed me a live video stream from a series of cameras mounted in and around the house. We even zoomed in to view a fence-company estimator walking the property line.
With his vacation house located hours away in an isolated setting, my friend was anxious about security — not to mention the possibility of a water pipe breaking and leaking, undetected, for weeks. Rather than pay a security company to monitor the house, he installed a suite of smart-home products. With a couple of cameras, some radio-enabled switches and valves, an internet router, and a smartphone, he can monitor his property visually, turn fixtures on and off, and open and close plumbing valves. If certain conditions at the house…