Consumers globally switching on to home automation

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Home automation, once the domain of the rich, is becoming more of a selling point for home buyers in India.

According to, location is just one of the boxes that needs to be ticked; and expectations are changing for a new group of well-travelled, highly educated Indian middle class.

The desire for home automation is driven by an evolution in residential home management, comfort, convenience and sustainable practices. This include the desire for 24×7 surveillance, biometric scans to gain entrance, door sensors, temperature sensors, smart appliances, etc.

In addition, automation enables better management of energy bills, resource utilisation, safety, health and hygiene.

Home automation race ramps up

Global players such as Apple, Samsung, AT&T and Amazon are all joining the home automation race, with Amazon’s Echo application able to manage lights, set timers for reminders, stream music or read the news.

Reports have also surfaced that Apple TV may well be integrating a home automation hub which, Digital Trends says, “suggests that the company sees Apple TV as the potential command center of all your house’s connected devices.”

Stuff magazine reports that more and more New Zealanders are choosing to automate their homes with the inclusion of heat pumps and plugs that can be turned on and off with an app. Other features include home security systems, smoke alarms and garage door sensors.

Home automation company Vivint reported recently that a third of New Zealanders have added some sort of automation device that allows remote control of either appliances, lighting or security; with a fifth saying they are considering buying home technology.

Vivint general manager Marsden Hulme says: “Whether people are at home and want to ensure the areas they are not in remain secure, or they want to keep their home safe while they are out at work or away on holiday, these systems make it easy and ensure that if anything happens the appropriate authorities are notified immediately.”

The ability to control lights in a home and open locks remotely was particularly popular, Hulme said.

“If a tradesman is coming to service an appliance in your home, or a courier is turning with an important parcel, rather than having it on the doorstep all day long you can open the door from your mobile phone see that individual come into the home do what they need to do and when they leave you can remotely lock the door from the app.

“Whether you’re across the road or across the world, it doesn’t matter.”

US$35m automated home for sale

This smart home sold for US$35 million picture credit: Jim Bartsch.

In California, an Apple executive, who has embraced home automation and installed every smart device conceivable, is selling his home for US$35 million, accordinfg to an article by the Wall Street Journal that discusses the home of the retired computer executive.

At 10,000 square feet (approximately 930 square meters) the house has four bedrooms and views of the ocean, a 12 person home movie theatre, three fireplaces, big kitchen and ‘spa-style’ bathroom.  However, it’s the automation that makes this home truly unique.

According to the article, “lighting, music, televisions, heat, air-conditioning, window shades, fireplaces and door locks” are all remotely controlled by smartphone or tablet.

There are three aquariums built-in the house, which can be automatically monitored for water quality and temperature, plus have the water automatically changed.

The simple act of driving through the front gates activates the lights, opens the garage, and turns on the fountain; when the shower turns on, so does the towel warmer. “For me it’s all about the technology and doing it well, not flashy,” Barnick said in the interview.

The homeowner said his love of automation is such that he has started a company, Quantum Integration, which installs automation systems in other homes.