Smart Homes: How Tech Can Make Your House Really Cool

You’re at the airport for the early morning flight, and even though you got up, packed, got to the airport and made it through security, you’re not really awake yet.

Then it hits — did you remember to turn the stove off? And shut the garage door? And lock the back door?

Well, instead of making a panicked call at 7 a.m. to a neighbor, or getting a ticket for a later flight, there is new tech available today that will allow you to take care of all those tasks right from your smartphone.

Companies like Automated Homes of New England make magic like that possible right now.

According to their Web site, they can provide the ability to control just about anything from your smartphone, including:

  • Lighting Control
  • Whole House Audio
  • Home Theater
  • Computer Networks
  • Phone Systems
  • Thermostat
  • Home Security
  • Shopping Lists
  • Remote Control of Any Home Electronics

You could literally wake up in the morning, tell your house to turn the porch light on at 7 p.m. so it looks like you’re home (though you know you’ll be out with friends watching the game), and then use a voice command to add salami and hard rolls to your shopping list.

But even though all that is really cool, it can also help you save money. How many times have you left the house and forgot to roll back the thermostat? When you get home, your air conditioning has been cranking all day and you walk come home to Ice Station Zebra. All that electricity wasted. Remote control of all your home’s functions can do more than just help prevent you from burning the house down because you forgot to turn off the stove top. It will enable you to save money on your electric bill, as well.

Now, comes the social consciousness part — it’s green, too. Imagine if everyone had similar control, and were reducing their energy output remotely. That’s a massive energy savings, which is really good for the environment.

They even have energy management dashboards they can build in so you can monitor your energy output. It will give you a precise readout of what appliances are costing you the most in electricity, so you can cut back on things you don’t need that often and use your electricity where you really need it. With some systems, you could save as much as $50 per month on your energy bill without actually feeling like you are using less electricity.

So, the next time you watch an episode of Star Trek where someone walks into their quarters and tells the room to adjust the temperature, dim the lights and play that Rachmaninov concerto on the audio system, remember that you don’t have to be in Starfleet to make all that happen. All that is possible right now.

All except for the shelf that materializes a cup of tea out of thin air. They’re still working on that. Are you listening, Apple???

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