New home control technologies could provide home control for all…once the dust settles between competing formats, that is.
By Cliff Roth
Time was, remote controlling lights, air conditioning and heating was considered a luxury—the stuff of James Bond movies. Much of the public still thinks of these things as flights of fancy.
As we in the industry (and our happy clients) know, however, custom home theater installations often include these applications and much more, and have for years now.
Thing is, lighting controls, for example, often require expensive and labor-intensive wiring. This type of wiring has especially been reserved for the most high-end of systems.
Now, new wireless alternatives incorporating technology such as Z-Wave or ZigBee can make much of that wiring unnecessary. These emerging standards can more easily enable C-tailers and installers to add lighting and security products to their mix by removing the need for adding—and pulling—new wiring. They can also open up home control much more easily, and in a much more palatable fashion, to the mass market, particularly to those with existing homes.
These new wireless home control technologies represent the dawn of a whole new era—one of Do-It-Yourself Home Control and Automation.
WIRELESS HOME CONTROL TODAY
Wireless isn't the first or only alternative to dedicated wiring systems for home control; powerline-based home control systems like X10 have been around for some time, though they've never really attracted mass-market interest.
Wireless is a whole other animal, however. Consumers are increasingly comfortable and familiar with wireless networking technology through their PC-related wireless experiences; before that, there were remote controls and cordless and cellular phones that operated without wires.
So as wireless home control becomes possible, consumers are likely to be intrigued. Today, wireless home control is available not just at Home Depot, it's even coming to Wal-Mart.