An automated house is one with electronic components that can be controlled remotely or through a central control unit. In the past, automated houses were designed primarily for affluent homeowners or for those requiring accessibility solutions for disabilities. As technology has advanced and technical skill has increased, home automation has become more common.
In houses, apartments, condos, and other residential dwellings, there typically are common controls. When wired with electricity; fitted for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and piped with modern plumbing, there are a number of ways a residence can become an automated house. Computers, sensors, and signals can be added to control different functions in an existing home, or they can be incorporated into the design of a structure before it is built.
Often called a smart home, an automated house has a brain of sorts that acts to replace or enhance manual switches and maintenance. Doors, windows, and gates can be opened and locked from inside or outside a residence, and security systems, safety features, and streaming video cameras can be monitored from one device or from several devices communicating through a central computer. Voice-activated controls make it possible to operate machines through simple verbal commands.
Temperature and HVAC controls for automating thermostats, raising blinds on windows and skylights, and operating fans can be set on a timer or turned on and off remotely as weather conditions change. Controls for outdoor landscape watering or even for indoor watering and feeding dish systems for pets can be conveniences of an automated house. Lights outside the house can store solar energy from the sun by day to provide illumination at night, and lights inside can be wired to turn on when a person enters a room or to dim as natural light streams through windows.
Sound features can be popular automated house additions. Walls can contain speaker systems that carry programmed music through whole homes and into outside areas and songs can be attached to different rooms or functions within a room to enhance the environment. Sound and movement receptors also can alert homeowners of intruders.
Automated houses can be outfitted by professional architects and builders. Individuals trained specifically in the application of home automation systems also work to automate custom spaces for clients. Increasingly, do-it-yourself (DIY) resources have become available for homeowners and renters. Creating an automated house can involve simple DIY additions, such as auto-timed lights and preset movie recording or music playing, or it can encompass whole-home security and convenience systems.