The Home of 2016: It’s Time to Automate Your Abode

The term “smart home” refers to houses that have been equipped with features, products and systems that can be automated and controlled with an app. This gives homeowners the ability to connect to their home from anywhere.

The convenience factor is huge, but smart home features also significantly improve security and energy efficiency. The experts at have found that more of their energy conscious customers are considering smart home equipment, and CBS News has also reported that these are among the top features homebuyers are looking for today.

Making your home a little more intelligent doesn’t require a huge investment. You can start with a few of these basic features and continue to expand the system overtime.


Lighting was one of the first home features to become automated. Taking inspiration from dimmable and clap-controlled lights, manufacturers are rolling out CFL and LED bulbs that offer even better energy efficient through automation. Lights can be scheduled to come on minutes before you walk through the door. You can also dim them down as needed with your smart phone. Today there are even options that can change color and play music with the touch of a button. These smart lights operate by connecting to hubs. For that reason you’ll want to do your research and see which hub offers the most power and flexibility to cover your entire home.


Window Shades

For complete lighting control and maximum energy efficiency your window treatments will have to be smart as well. Good thing more and more companies are beginning to build shades and curtains that have automation built right in. Smart window treatments have battery-operated bases that can connect to apps and work alongside your smart light bulbs.

Temperature Control

Nest Learning Thermostat was one of the first devices created to help homeowners take HVAC programming to the next level. It has become so popular that countless other manufacturers are now making their own smart thermostats that can be set and monitored remotely with a phone. Nest says that homeowners can save as much as 25% on their heating and cooling bills by using their smart thermostat, which also learns your preferences after just a few uses.


Protecting your home is the #1 priority, and tech companies know this. Today there is no shortage of automated home security systems. About five years ago ADT offered the revolutionary Pulse security products that could be viewed and controlled through Internet-connected devices. ADT and other security providers have since expanded smart home security beyond our wildest imagination. Cameras and sensors can be added so that you can see what’s happening while you’re away and know if a window has even rattled. Smart home security systems are also incorporating monitors for things like smoke alarms and appliances for total protection.

Smoke Alarms

The makers of Nest Learning Thermostat are expanding their product line, and the Nest Protect Smoke Alarm + CO2 is one of their most interesting products. Smoke alarms are just about the most important piece of equipment in your home. Even though homeowners install them they often forget to check the batteries and functionality on a regular basis. Well, not anymore. Nest Protect will alert you via phone whenever the batteries are getting low or something isn’t quite right. If there is a problem it will let you know what it is detecting and where it’s at in the home so you can take immediate action no matter where you are.


Know when your refrigerator loses power or the second the washing machine leaks water with appliances that are programmed to talk to you. All the major appliance makers are finding creative ways to make everyday machines smarter, but LG is quickly becoming the company that sets the standard. Their Smart ThinQ line uses what’s known as HomeChat so that users can message appliances. HomeChat will even message you when it sees an adjustment that can be made. Now you never have to wonder if the oven was left on ever again.

Smart Home Systems

You may be wondering how you’re going to manage all these smart home features. Apple, SmartThings and others are making smart home systems that bring all of your automated features together in one place. This makes it easier to control everything, plus you can set up smart home features so they work together. You can schedule certain features to turn on at a specific time or create chain reactions that are triggered by one feature. For example, you can set up your system so that when the shades get drawn the lights in a room will automatically turn on.

The list of smart home products and features is going to continue to grow. But don’t get overwhelmed! Start small with a few lights or security sensors, then keep adding to make your home more intelligent.