Wouldn’t it be nice to have a robot to pick up your slack around the house? With a home automation system, it’s not as farfetched as you might think.

Do you remember George Jetson? His futuristic world gave a whole generation of cartoon viewers fantasies about having the ability to complete even the most tedious chores with only the push of a button. Well they don’t look like the Jetson’s Rosie, but robot housekeepers are actually already available. They are called home automation systems and look more like a fancy thermostat than a metal maid.

A home automation system allows the homeowner to control all his home’s systems via the World Wide Web from virtually anywhere Internet access is available. An automation system harmonises the air conditioner, heater, water and appliances. Each subsystem is wired and connected to a hub, or a central processing unit, that ties them all together. Have you ever been rushing on your way to work and had a sinking feeling that you forgot to turn off the stove, or didn’t turn the answering machine on? If your home was automated, you could take care of those things as soon as you get to your computer and have absolutely no house related worries for the rest of the day.

A home automation system can make your entertainment systems even more fun. No more missing your favourite television shows because you forgot to set the VCR. The system would allow you to start your recorder remotely so you don’t miss a minute. Imagine being able to adjust the volume on your stereo, for just the right mood music, with just the click of a button. You wouldn’t even have to walk away from your guests.

Security is probably one of the first things people associate with home automation. All the entrances and openings to your home can be wired so you will virtually have an electronic barrier against intruders around your home twenty-four hours a day. Like all the other subsystems in your home, it can be operated off-site, so you never have to worry about whether or not you locked everything up tight. Most automated systems are also armed with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If the barrier is breached in any way, or danger is detected, then it alerts the proper authorities. It could save your life, if you were injured and unable to do so yourself.

Of course, there are fancier home automation options for the rich and famous. According to U.S. News, the Gates family home is full of them. That’s right; Bill Gates’ home contains about 52 miles of electronic wiring. Every flooring surface in the building is heated, including the driveway and sidewalks. Theoretically, Mr. Gates could start his favourite music, draw a bath and light his fireplace on his way home from the office.

There is a place on the home automation spectrum for every household and every budget. Whether your priority is safety, convenience or just to show off, there are many options available to you. Who knows, the next step in technology evolution might mean hover cars for everyone!

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