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Home automation


Revenue for the US home automation market is slated to reach 5.5 billion by 2016. In fact, home automation is the greatest technological leap forward in home technology in many decades.

A number of factors are driving home automation – wariness about energy efficiency and a desire to streamline home entertainment both play a role. Consumers are also eager to automate home security in a cost-efficient way. Perhaps this is why the field of home automation reached revenues of approximately 3.5 billion in 2011.

Demand for Home Automation

Venture capital funding is flying into promising home automation start-ups that promise to fuse convenience, security and energy efficiency for tomorrow’s customers. The plan is to deliver advanced functionality to homes across the country via distributed control systems.

Economists claim that home automation is at the high growth point of the financial life cycle. Indeed, home automation is anticipated to keep cresting at the current rate of 10% annual growth or more until 2018. By 2019, a year after this rabid growth settles down, home automation is expected to have generated nearly 20 billion dollars in revenue.

Two US companies lead the stateside transition from just alarm systems into home automation – Leviton and Johnson Controls. That said, all top home automation companies seek to digitally streamline the following areas: HVAC, entertainment, lighting, outdoor upkeep, security and home access. This means that everything from motion sensors and control systems are brought onto the same Smart technology grid as irrigation and wireless temperature control.

Movers and Shakers: Recent Acquisitions

Google made history recently by purchasing home automation start-up Nest for 3.2 billion dollars. Ironically, Nest’s co-founders were both on the original team for iPod development; in addition, the Nest indoor thermostat is still distributed at Apple locations.

Nonetheless, Google promises customers that Nest will continue to function under its own brand, not unlike what Motorola did following a buyout.

Nest ensures, for its part, to continue offering applications for Android and iOS. In other words, security features offered by Nest (Nest Protect), smoke detectors and thermostats will still is compatible with Apple products post-Google acquisition.

Home Automation
Gramophone MarylandCC BY-NC-ND

Another American juggernaut, Lowes, made history this month at the Consumer Electronics Show by unveiling its groundbreaking Iris home automation system. One piece of Iris’ voice control technology known as iVee allows users to control the temperature of any room in the house with voice commands. For instance, saying “turn up the temperature in the den to 73 degrees” will actually do just that!

Continued Expansion in Home Automation

The field is expected to experience a 47% consolidated annual rate for the next four years. This eye-watering growth is made possible by ubiquitous and increasingly economical internet connections running through basic appliances like refrigerators and lights.

Companies like CPI Security and Time Warner Cable, although eager to make an impact on home automation, are largely playing catch-up. In previous years, systems were either overpriced or prohibitively techie via setup and maintenance. The next generation of home automation systems is neither too pricy nor hard to install, which is anticipated to open up home automation to a larger consumer base.

Lowes, for instance, claims that every electrical device on its shelves will eventually be compatible with its home automation system. This means that the device will not only be internet ready – it will also have its own app. When Iris came out in late 2012 the home automation system had over three dozen devices with their own apps; this will extend in the coming years due to partnerships with electronics manufacturers like Honeywell and Whirlpool.


In-home automation is an industry that has enormous room for growth. During 2012 alone, according to ABI Research, more than one and a half million home automation systems were installed in the United States. By 2017, industry analysts expect shipments of these systems to rise to more than 8 million.

And when it comes to in-home automation systems, the latest market data shows that energy efficiency is leading the way. Here are a few reasons why.

It Saves You Money

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way — energy efficiency cuts back on energy usage, leaving more money in your pocket. There are easier, simpler ways to do things now, and people are taking advantage. The inflated cost came from motors and compressors that operated in air conditioners and heaters. Smarter systems work to cool us when we’re home and leave the temperature warm when we’re not.

Even when items are turned off, they’re still drawing power. Game consoles and movie players can draw quite a bit of power, even while in standby mode. This is called “phantom load” and can add up to 8 percent on your electricity bill. If you have a smart strip, though, it will stop the flow of energy to those devices.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to save money is switching to compact fluorescent lights. These cost about double what you’d pay for an incandescent light bulb, but they last up to eight times longer and are just as bright, if not brighter. If you combine this with an occupancy sensor, you’ll save even more and the lights will turn off if there’s either adequate light available or no one in the room.

To further the savings, shop around for an affordable energy rate. When you combine these methods of saving energy along with an affordable energy rate, you can create a sizable savings for yourself. Check out www.electric.com and find an affordable rate in your area.

It’s Less Taxing on Our Appliances

Over the past decade or so, there has been an increased push for greener technology, and it’s resulted in an entire line of Energy Star products that use very little energy while operating. These cut costs by up to ten percent each month. When our appliances don’t work as hard, we not only save money, but we ensure that those appliances are operational for a longer period.

Some smart appliances come with a built-in Wi-Fi adapter that allows the device to communicate with its creators, so if anything goes wrong, the company is immediately notified.

It Makes Our Appliances More Efficient

Like everything, the more you use an appliance, the more worn down it’ll become. Energy efficient technology prevents this from happening as quickly. With some systems, you’re able to remotely connect from a smartphone or a web application and turn on those systems. This prevents systems from running while they’re not needed.

As time progresses, though, these appliances themselves are becoming even more efficient. It’s estimated by 2015 that new air conditioning units will be 10 to 11 percent more efficient than the one’s currently on the market. These technologies will have compressors that allow the systems to operate with a range of variable speeds to keep homes cool during desired times.

It Saves You Time

With newer appliances, things cool down and heat up more quickly, not to mention run faster. While it may only save a few minutes each time, those minutes quickly add up to a substantial amount of time, and in today’s world, every second counts. How many times have you had to run the clothes or dishes through again because something was done improperly?

It Increases Your Home’s Value

Being energy efficient is the thing to do lately, and, as such, many buyers are in the market for eco-friendly and energy efficient homes. More and more people understand the benefits of energy efficiency, and they want to lower their energy bills without doing a ton of work. Because of this, homes will maintain or increase their value when energy-efficient tactics are used. On average, homes sell for eight to ten percent more if they weren’t certified. For the homes that were certified, they sold for 30 percent more.

No matter which way you look at it, energy efficiency is leading the charge in home automation. From saving time to saving money, it hits on all of the points that people care the most about, and when it’s time to move, it ensures that people get the most value for their home. It costs a little more up front, but the savings more than make up for any expenses.

Being energy efficient is possibly the easiest thing you could do for your home. Buy a few energy appliances, a few smart strips, and some CFL lights, and watch the savings pile on. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner!