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Wired Homes in a Wired World

Sandra Prior
Aug 8, 2008
Home automation was a fun fantasy long before it became a reality for the average American home. When The Jetsons premiered in 1962, audiences relished the push-of-a-button ease with which Rosie the Robot did the housework with the help of a seeing-eye vacuum cleaner, a voice operated washing machine and a nuclear powered knitting machine. And they marveled at how Judy Jetson spoke to her husband at work via a widescreen TV.

More and more the Jetsons lifestyle is becoming a reality in the US, with voice activated appliances, videophones and moving sidewalks. The latest fridges and ovens boast Web appliances and Internet connections and cars come complete with satellite positioning systems.

While Americans still aren't installing nuclear powered knitting machines into their dream homes, many do have systems that automatically control the thermostat, security system, home theatre and lighting functions via remote control, keypads, voice commands or over the Internet. Installing a home control system allows home owners to have access to their home's electronic system from anywhere on the planet.

Rather than switching off the lights, setting the security system or fiddling with the thermostat, owners can rest easy, knowing their connected home will take care of all those tasks automatically with sensors that detect whether anyone is at home or not. And at one press of a button, you can pipe music from a digital satellite system through to the in-wall speakers, dim the lights, light the fire and turn on the Jacuzzi. Or when working late, you can use your office Web connection to check that the kids are at home safely or even see if they're tucked up in bed.

Robots that do the laundry and solar powered stamp lickers like the Jetsons had may not be available yet, but with technologies like state-of-the-art wiring, lighting control, multi room music and total home control, connected Americans will be ready when they are. And just wait until they introduce that car that folds up into a briefcase.
About the Author
Subscribe to Sandra Prior's Online Newsletter and get up to date Computer Technology News delivered right to your email box for free. See website for details http://usacomputers.rr.nu and http://sacomputers.rr.nu.
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