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Tech in the Home

What is Home Automation? Designing with the Latest Technology

By 4 minute read

Last updated on September 20th, 2019

Today’s luxury homes showcase some of the most desirable amenities and design elements available. When designing your dream home you might start your wish list with every modern comfort you could imagine, but think well beyond upgraded finishes and beautiful furnishings.

Homeowners are looking to add sophistication to their home with home automation, and the options for home automation technology are endless. Learn how you can customize every living space in your home with the right home automation features.

 

What is Home Automation Technology?

Home automation is no longer a new concept, it’s growth in popularity has made it commonplace in luxury homes. Simply put, home automation is the ability to use interconnected devices and appliances to automatically accomplish day-to-day tasks within your home, limiting the effort needed to complete those tasks. Home automation uses various smart home technologies to accomplish this and can now be controlled with not just a mobile app but also your voice.

Technology in Home Automation dates back to the late 1880s when Nikola Tesla patented an idea for remote controlled vehicles, giving us the first remote control. In 1966 Jim Sutherland, an engineer working for Westinghouse Electric, developed a home automation system called “ECHO IV” along with a kitchen computer. It was the American Association of Homebuilders that coined the term “Smart House” in the 1980’s. With a focus on safety, the Smart House project predicted that by the turn of the century an integrated home wiring network would exist replacing electrical, telephone and cable wires. Today’s smart home automation has grown to include security, sustainable living, entertainment and more.

 

Smart Security

Home security has been a central piece many homeowners consider when automating a home. With the latest in technology, you can control your home security system with a mobile app. A smart home security system will typically have window and door sensors to notify you when someone is coming and going, smart locks to give access to people you trust, and video cameras that can notify you if someone is at your door. All these connected devices can also perform integrated tasks; when your alarm system is disarmed your lights turn on for safe entry or when your garage door opens it can turn your alarm system off automatically.

 

Create a Cozier Interior

As you design the important details of your home, consider those everyday household functions—from switching the lights on to staying warm or cool inside your home—that could be automated. Lighting is functional and it adds to a home’s aesthetic, but automating your lighting can take it to another level. With smart lighting, you can schedule exterior lights to turn on at dusk and off at dawn. You can use your voice for hands-free illumination or set the scene for a perfect movie night. Smart lights can be an extra security measure to keep burglars away while you’re not home.

Keeping your home at the ideal temperature is easy with a smart thermostat. Some smart thermostats learn your preferences and adjust the temperature to your liking and reacts to the humidity levels inside your home as well as temperatures outside. With this kind of technology, it takes the guesswork out of temperature control but if you don’t like the temperature, you can still adjust it manually yourself.

Radiant heat floors add another layer of warmth to your space and some Wi-Fi floor heating thermostats can work with a radiant heat flooring system to ensure that the floor is always comfortable. Windows play an important part in a home’s energy efficiency and they can be automated, too. While the glass from smart windows can keep out solar heat, Wi-Fi connected tint controls can give you even more energy savings. Window coverings, including shutters, blinds, shades, and curtains, can also be automated, offering privacy, energy efficiency, and ease all at once.

 

Upgrade Your Kitchen Appliances

Modern kitchens decked out with the latest home automation technologies save you time and a few steps in the kitchen, whether you’re making a weeknight meal or cooking for a dinner party. Smart kitchen appliances are the new must-have for luxury homes—and there are many to choose from.

A smart refrigerator, like the Jenn-Air Wi-Fi Refrigerator, will send you notifications when the door is left open, when the freezer or fridge goes beyond a set temperature, or when you need to change a filter. Other smart refrigerators function as a command center hub with a touchscreen interface where you can refer to recipes and manage your family’s shopping lists and schedule. The best part is that you can access it wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet. Forgetting to start the dishwasher cycle won’t be a problem anymore with a smart dishwasher. For example, with the Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher, you can start your dishwashing cycle with an app when you’re not home and the dishwasher is smart enough to select the cycle. Motion sensor faucets, the latest luxury in kitchen faucets, can easily turn on with the wave of your hand, preventing the spread of germs.

 

Bathrooms are also getting smarter. Smart mirrors can tell you the weather, your commute to work and play your favorite tunes while you are getting ready.

 

Is Home Automation Right for You?

If you’re still wondering, “what is home automation, and what can it do for me?” keep in mind that it can make life a little easier and a little more luxurious, too. More importantly, it is 100% personal and you can decide what suites your lifestyle. Do a little homework on what kinds of home automation products and capabilities are available to you.

When building a home with Toll Brothers, you have many home automation selections to help personalize your home. Consider the daily habits and tasks around the house that could be simplified or enhanced with modern technology. Then design the best smart home solutions into your home that allow you to enjoy every room that much more.

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Build Beautiful by Toll Brothers covers home decor, financing, architecture, technology in the home, and the lifestyle in and around our communities.

Margie Dombrowski

written by

Margie Monin Dombrowski is a design writer based in southern California, who loves the topic so much she decided to go to design school. She writes for commercial design trade publications and shelter magazines, and creates copy for businesses in the interior design industry.

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