Smart Homes: A New Twist on Old Tech

Remote-controlled homes have been around for decades now. Since 1975, home automation systems have been connected through the house’s wiring system, connecting dishwashers to televisions and bathrooms to kitchens.

But as with many industries and technology sectors, the Internet and mobile devices have changed everything. Now, instead of controlling appliances through the household wiring, they can be controlled online and from the comfort of your smartphone.

For this reason, remote-controlled homes have a new name – smart homes.

Why Should I Turn My Home Into a Smart Home? Entertainment, Safety and Savings

Smart homes can be set up to perform automated actions based on timers, remote control signals and other settings. Almost everything in the house can be controlled this way, from water to lights to door locks to video cameras.

Home automation may not be for everyone. In the most general terms, they are a luxury, and there are many reasons why people choose to have them. Some people simply enjoy having the latest technology or appreciate the added convenience. Others have more serious reasons to set up a smart home system.

People with disabilities, older people and single parents who are constrained by time can all make efficient use of this technology, which will have a huge impact on their lives. The concept also provides improved home security systems in the form of surveillance, timed locks and user identification. It even saves you money on electricity by use of automatic shut-off of lights, water and heat.

What’s the Big Deal? Plug-in Versus Wire-in

Any home can be converted into a smart one with a few changes, which can be major or minor projects. Therein lies the difference between “plug-in” systems and “wire-in” systems.

Plug-in controllers are usually the least expensive way of controlling appliances around the house. As their name implies, you just plug them in between the power outlet and the appliance. Then you are ready to program it to function automatically, control it by remote, by smartphone or by another device.

Wire-in controllers need to be installed behind walls throughout the house, which can be a considerable extra expense. However, they do save on space and definitely look better as they are almost invisible.

Classic Needs for a Smart Home

Although the Internet and smartphone apps have changed the automated home industry quite considerably, there are still some classic tools that are still used to control smart homes. Some of these tools are:

Infrared (IR) Systems

Infrared light has been in use for remote control for decades and they are still key components of computers, smartphones, televisions and stereo systems. This is the most basic type of remote controller to which you can connect virtually everything in your home.

Universal Remote Control

The universal remote controller goes hand in hand with IR systems. Also containing infrared technology, universal controllers have long since replaced the “one remote for each device” system. They are very convenient and can be programmed to control all of your appliances, such as television, radio, DVD players, lights and more.

Dimmer Switches and On/off Modules

Controlling lights is usually the first thing people think of when they think of smart homes. People are very visual, so this makes sense. That’s why even in regular homes, dimmer switches and on/off modules are common. That said, these types of switches can be used for more than just lights. They can be used for just about any appliance that can be turned on or off. The only limit is your creativity.

Control Hubs

Control hubs are not necessarily classics, but over the years they have been gaining in popularity. Originally, they had been used as a part of IR systems, with IR repeaters placed around the house to control lights and appliances from a single or multiple locations. Today, this connectivity is also accomplished using smartphones and their apps over the Internet, which provides a more user-friendly and customisable experience.

Going to the Next Level: The New Generation of Smart Homes

As smart technology overtakes the industry, more and more options become available. While the classics mentioned above will probably never go completely out of use, mobile devices and the Internet are opening up the smart home world in amazing ways.

Motion sensors

While motion sensors are also a part of the classic array of devices that make up smart homes, they are also being revolutionized by mobile technology and the Internet. They can be set to turn on lights, electronics and other appliances.

The newest twist on motion sensors is that they can now be monitored 24/7 from the comfort of a smartphone. This provides a measure of security for the home as well as convenience. Motion sensor alerts for your smartphone keep you constantly informed of what is moving inside and outside your home.

Voice Recognition and Control

When it comes to cutting-edge technology, what amazes most people is being able to speak to your device or appliance and give it commands. Instead of using buttons and switches to control your technology, your smart home system responds to voice commands. More importantly, it responds to your own voice, which means that it is completely customizable and access can be restricted based on individual voice profiles and voice biometrics.

Not only is voice recognition and control the most stunning and entertaining way to control your home, it is also one that is constantly evolving. New features are constantly being added to this category, such as control of music, alarms, security systems and multi-lingual support.


Although there have been many advancements in smart home technology that are revolutionary to say the least, wearables are truly the cutting-edge of what makes smart homes smart. A wearable watch that can sense your body temperature, your heartbeat and other biometrics make for a truly immersive experience.

With wearables, users become a part of their smarthomes instead of just occupants.


It goes without saying that smart homes offer some of the highest technology in the security industry. Some might say that security is one of the first reasons that smart homes came into existence.

Audio and video surveillance both inside and outside the home, night vision cameras, timed locks and real-time monitoring from your smartphone are just a few of the amazing security features available for smart homes.