Living Smarter: Exploring Simple and Advanced Home Automation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Living Smarter: Exploring Simple and Advanced Home Automation

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 10:24 AM Updated:

SALISBURY, Md.- Smart homes - homes with some form of automation - are becoming more and more prevalent these days, including many homes right here on Delmarva. 

If a homeowner chooses, they can have anything from simple things like an smart device turning on and off your lights, to something much more advanced, like a control hub that controls everything from lights, to blinds, to music, and your TV.  Or, you can fall somewhere in between.

On the simpler side of things, you only need a few items to begin your home automation.  In the Mich household, all we have is an Amazon Echo (or a Google Home device works just as well), and a few Philips Hue light bulbs.  The bulbs come with a "hub" that hooks up the bulbs and Echo together through your home's Wi-Fi.  Once everything is set up, you can either turn your lights on and off from inside or outside your home, change their colors, or dim the lights right from your phone.  Or you just ask the Amazon Echo to do it for you.  If you are already in bed, but forgot to turn the lights off downstairs, saying "Alexa, turn off the lights in the living room" takes care of it for you without you have to leave the room. It's not much, and they are not necessarily life changing technological additions you are adding with an Echo and some smart bulbs, but it is new and can add some convenience to your everyday life.

You can also take home automation to the other end of the spectrum and integrate nearly every aspect of your home into a smart system that can all be controlled by the touch of a few buttons.  We visited one home in North Bethany Beach that the company Sound FX out of Lewes was putting the finishing touches on.  While an Amazon Echo may be able to be the central hub for a simpler home, this home in North Bethany had a closet dedicated to all the software and hardware needed to operate all of the smart systems throughout the home.

The system will ensure control over everything from the lights, blinds, music, and television. 

"So if the owner wishes to watch the baseball game in the living room and decides, 'Let me go upstairs and talk to the wife,' that cable box follows them so they can enjoy that entertainment elsewhere throughout the home," said Jason Friedel with Sound FX.

Some of the automation highlights of the home include various button panels on the walls that can control a predetermined set of lights in a room or an entire floor.  There are also lights which a programmed to automatically turn on and off as you walk through a hallway or down a staircase.  Also by the touch of a button, or by simply unlocking one of the doors that leads to the back deck, we can automatically raise the blinds and hurricane shutters without lifting a finger.  There are also touchpads built into the walls, or you can control the home on a mobile device. 

The North Bethany home is certainly on the higher end of the home automation spectrum, but if you so desired, you could go simple, elaborate, or somewhere in between.

"There's simple simplistic options like an Alexa with a couple of light bulbs that's maybe in the range of a couple hundred dollars," Friedel said.  "And then there's full-blown automation systems that can run in single thousands of dollars up to a six figure price depending on what the end user's goals are, what they would like to achieve from their home, and the simplicity of everything."

It is all about personal preference, and how you want to turn your lights off.  You can flip the switch, or have Alexa handle it, or perhaps just have the programmed to go off whenever you leave the room.











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