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Posted on March 13, 2014 | 9:57 a.m.

Touching on a Few of the Top Home Automation Systems

Source: Kate Voss

Chances are you’ve heard of home automation by now. It seems that every few months, a new company is debuting its own version of a home automation system, yet you might still have no idea what these systems do, or what they’re capable of.

Contrary to popular belief, home automation systems also aren’t only reserved for those who are constantly on the cutting edge of technology and home security, or consumers with loads of disposable income. In fact, many systems fit perfectly into everyday, busy lives.

In the simplest of terms, home automation is the process of hooking up different electronic components of your home to a system of your choice, which you can then control all at once from one place. For example, some systems allow you to lock your doors, turn off the lights and adjust the thermostat with your smartphone or tablet. It’s a technological step forward, which is changing the way American homes work.

If you’re in the market for home automation systems, you have dozens to choose from, depending on what your needs are. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular systems to help you decide which system is right for you.

ADT Pulse

The old standard for home security has upped their game when it comes to home automation. Through a Z-Wave connected system (which, luckily for those who are technologically challenged, is all set up for you) you can remotely control multiple appliances in your home.

The system can arm/disarm your home alarm, lock/unlock doors, alert you to any potential flooding through water sensors, monitor the camera on your front door, and receive security alerts during possible fires or break ins. You can also adjust your lights and thermostat through your Android phone or even your television if you have a Samsung SmartTV, since Samsung partnered with ADT to make their systems compatible. To learn more about ADT Home Security and the Pulse System you can visit their website by clicking here.

Nest

Following Google’s recent $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, the spotlight has been pointing brightly at this automation system.

Nest right now sells only two products. There's one it calls a Learning Thermostat, which sections your home into controllable grids, then picks up on patterns you have for adjusting the temperature in each of the “grids” of your home. The second product is a smart smoke/carbon monoxide detector that you can turn off or prevent from going off when you accidentally burn a piece of toast. The smoke detector also speaks to you during an emergency, alerts you to the problem and even notes where it is located, so that you can react appropriately.

The main reason Nest’s potential is becoming even more widely discussed is because it now has Google’s billions in capital behind it. With competitors circling in the water, Google is no doubt pouring dollars into developing additional products to add to its Nest line. You can purchase a Nest Learning Thermostat or a Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector through its website by clicking here.

Piper

The Piper home automation system is a great choice for technology savvy people who aren’t looking for a major commitment when it comes to home security. Piper is a smart home security camera that offers you panoramic view of your home.

The Piper system allows you to remotely view what’s going on in your home through its smartphone app, and records any abnormal activity automatically. This camera will alert you immediately when something fishy takes place; for instance, if there is an increased noise level or if the front door is opening at an odd hour of the day. You can then turn on the lights and sound Piper’s alarm while you call the police.

On top of that, Piper monitors your home’s temperature, humidity level, as well as the ambient light and sound levels on a given day. The system is compatible with other Z-Wave products, so you can mix and match automation for different aspects of your home without worrying about them not working together. Piper is available for purchase at GetPiper.com.

— Kate Voss is an environmental and technology blogger from Chicago. She focuses her time writing about how to create a more sustainable society and the new technologies which allow this. The opinions expressed are her own.

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