Top 5 Smart Home Tech of 2018 | Smart Tech

Smart home technology, also known as home automation, provides homeowners security, comfort, convenience and energy efficiency by allowing them to control smart devices, often by a app on their smartphone or other networked device. A part of the internet of things (IoT), systems and devices often operate together, sharing consumer usage data among themselves and automating actions based on the homeowners’ preferences.

 

The origins of the smart home

With the 1975 release of X10, a communication protocol for home automation, the smart home, once a pipe dream a la The Jetsons, came to life. X10 sends 120 kHz radio frequency (RF) bursts of digital information onto a home’s existing electric wiring to programmable outlets or switches. These signals convey commands to corresponding devices, controlling how and when the devices operate. A transmitter could, for example, send a signal along the house’s electric wiring, telling a device to turn on at a specific time.

However, as electrical wiring isn’t designed to be particularly free from radio-band “noise,” X10 was not always fully reliable. Signals would be lost and, in some cases, signals wouldn’t cross circuits that were wired on different polarities, created when 220-volt service is split into a pair of 100-volt feeds, as is common in the U.S. Additionally, X10 was initially a one-way technology, so while smart devices can take commands, they cannot send data back to a central network. Later, however, two-way X10 devices became available, albeit at a higher cost.

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