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The Uses of Home Automation for the Lazy

Fri, Feb 11, 2011

Gadgets, Home Automation

So many times, when I’ve told people about home automation, their first response is, “I’m not lazy – I can turn off my own lights.” I tried to fight it for so long, but I’ve finally given in — home automation is awesome for the lazy!

If you’re lazy, and interested in home automation, which is a pretty fair assessment if you’re on this site, then this is for you.

Lighting Control

Well, what if you don’t want to turn off your own lights? How many times have you wasted energy getting off the couch to turn the lights off before a movie? You friend calls and says he’s coming over – do you walk to the front door to turn on a light to the entry?

All of these situations are ones that can be directly avoided! With lighting control, you’ll never need to get up. Simply pull out your favorite iOS or Android device and hit the button for the light in question…easy peasy. (We love Crestron lighting control from their iPad app – figure $1k for the processor, $100 for the app, and around $120 per light switch.)

The side benefit is that you can change those lights from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Makes for a great way to mess with family members while at work or traveling. Also great if you actually need to turn a light on or off while away from home.

Security Cameras

Many people falsely believe that the best usage of security cameras is to catch would-be intruders. Their best usage is giving you eyes on what’s going on while at work or on the couch. It’s simple.

Someone ring your doorbell and you want to see who it is before leaving the couch? No problem – your front door security camera can show you right on your TV who’s there. Want to make sure your son is mowing the lawn? Your back camera should do great here. Simply open the app on your iOS, Android, or Blackberry device and watch live.

You can even get security cameras with pan/tilt/zoom functionality so you can watch exactly what’s happening…all without lifting more than a finger. (We love ICRealtime for our cameras. Figure between $400-$600 for a DVR and about $80/camera.)

Whole Home Audio

Let’s face it, we all love music, but what’s more annoying than having to go to a different room to change the volume or radio station? If only there were a remote that you could control your music from, without having to physically move closer to the music source?

Your answer, whole-home audio. It’s awesome on an iPad with dragging a music source to a room, and clicking on the room to raise and lower the volume. Never again worry about having to get up to change the station. Pure awesomeness. (We love Sonos for their awesome interface, and being able to play Internet radio and a plethora of other sources. Plan on spending $500 per room/zone, and the control app is free.)

Home Theater

Don’t even get me started about how automation can integrate with your home theater. Suffice it to say that on your same smartphone, you can control your home theater at the same time as all your other automation, ensuring that while you lazily waste the day away on your couch that you will be thoroughly entertained the whole time. (Home theaters are extremely diverse – you can spend as little or as much as you want.)

About the Author:
AJ Wilcox works for a Utah home theater company that specializes in integration of home automation. He loves technology, running, and hanging out with his wife and 2 kids. He especially loves exotic cars and writes for Utah’s car blog.

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