Smarthome devices, which allow the remote monitor and control of home features, are a booming industry with major players and mass adopters. Automation technologies have been around for decades (recall The Clapper), and consumers can still purchase separate technologies to control thermostats, sprinkler appliances, or door locks.

These days, smarthome hub systems are available to manage disparate functions through one centralized interface that can be accessed on a user’s smartphone or tablet. Homeowners and renters alike have taken notice. They want smart home devices for lots of different reasons, but security and energy management are among the most significant. Experts suggest the global home automation market will be worth over $121.73 billion by 2020.


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Get to Know the Lingo

There are several keywords used for this evolving industry:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Domotics
  • Home automation 
  • Smarthomes or smart homes
  • Intelligent homes
  • Automated homes
  • Wired homes

Reasons for the Home Automation Boom, in a Nutshell

“…the [home automation] market, experts agree, is growing, and rapidly. This growth is driven, in part, by the rising tablet market. Smarthome DIYers have increasingly found the tablet as an effective remote control to manage all of the systems commonly found in a smarthome. Additional drivers include the decreasing costs of smart technologies; increased government regulation regarding energy consumption; increased energy costs; increased consumer awareness of, and concern about, the environment; and consumer security concerns.”

Source: The Smart Home: Intelligent Home Automation, (Entrepreneurial Insights, Aug. 22, 2014).

The Basics

Six Benefits to Home Automation, (SenSi, July 2015).

2015 State of the Smart Home, (iControl, 2015).

Home Automation Comes of Age, (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 17, 2015).

Testing the Benefits of Smart Home Technology, (Property Management Insider, Jan. 10, 2015)

Nest and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to Home Automation, (PC World, Jan. 15, 2014).

House of the Future: How Automation Tech Is Transforming the Home, (Forbes, Oct. 10, 2013).

The Advantages of a Smart House, (SFGate, n.d.)

How to Get Started

How to Build Your Smart Home: A Beginner's Guide, (PC Mag, Jan. 2016).

How to Automate Your Home with These 8 Devices, (Inc., 2016).

Quick Guide (Choose Simple or Advanced Playbook for information about upgrading to a Smarthome, and get links to related products, companies, apps, reviews, and more.), (SmartHomeDB, 2015).

How to get started with home automation, (CNET, Feb. 6, 2015).

What is home automation and how do I get started?, (Network World, Jan. 25, 2015).

What can I do with home automation?, (Network World, Jan. 26, 2015).

How Can I Get Started with Home Automation?, (LifeHacker, May 29, 2013).

Benefits: Energy Efficiency & Security

How Smart Homes Help Energy Efficiency, (CTA Blog, Dec. 2015).

Smart Homes: Focus on Security and Efficiency, (REALTOR® Mag, July 2015).

Nest Thermostat Pays for Itself in 2 Years, Studies Find, (Greentech, Feb. 2, 2015).

Smart homes aim for consumers' wallets as energy costs soar, (CNBC, Mar. 22, 2014).

Is Energy Efficiency the Most Popular In-Home Automation?, (IEEE Spectrum, Oct. 1, 2013).

Security Top of Mind for Consumers Interested in Home Automation, New CEA Study Finds, (CEA Press Release, Dec. 11, 2012).

Will smart home technology systems make consumers more energy efficient?, (The Guardian, n.d.).

Top 10 Benefits of Automating Your Home, (Freshome, n.d.)

Home Automation for Seniors or Disabled

For the disabled, smart homes are home sweet home, (Fortune, Feb. 1, 2015).

Smart Home Sensors Could Help Aging Population Stay Independent, (Scientific American, Feb. 1, 2014).

Smart-Home Technologies to Assist Older People to Live Well at Home, (Journal of Aging Science, 2013).

Consumer Perspective on Home Automation Systems, (AARP, Dec. 2012).

Security Issues With Home Automation Systems

Study Highlights Security Vulnerabilities in the Smart Home, (CNET, Apr. 2015).

Keeping "smart homes" safe from hackers, (CBS News, Sep. 9, 2014).

The Problem With Home Automation's Internet Of Things (IoT), (Forbes, Sep. 26, 2013).

When 'Smart Homes' Get Hacked: I Haunted A Complete Stranger's House Via The Internet, (Forbes, Jul. 26, 2013).

Market Players

Here’s a sampling of companies that have entered the home automation space:

Apple - HomeKit (not yet available) 
ARCOS - Smart Home
AT&T - Digital Life®
Comcast  - XFINITY® Home
Google - Nest
Microsoft / Insteon® (partnership)
Samsung Electronics - SmartThings  
Siemens - Synco™ living

Remotely and IOTAS create home automation systems for the rental market, and focus on developers and property management companies, rather than on individual consumers.

Automation Standards & Protocols

IEEE Standards Association (IEEESA)
IEEESA is a “consensus building organization that nurtures, develops & advances global technologies” (Source: IEEE.org). IEEESA approves and publishes standards for IoT applications.

“ZigBee is the only open, global wireless standard to provide the foundation for the Internet of Things by enabling simple and smart objects to work together, improving comfort and efficiency in everyday life. The ZigBee Alliance is an open, non-profit association of approximately 400 members driving development of innovative, reliable and easy-to-use ZigBee standards” (Source: ZigBee.org).

For a great primer on home automation protocols, see Home Automation Technologies from PC World.

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