An automation celebration!

An automation celebration! image

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This retrospective on home automation is a fun way to see how far we've come with the evolution of home automation. From the ability to turn lights on and off using switches, to controlling a thermostat, lowering shades or fully enveloping your home within a protective shield of sensors, the smart home has some interesting origins.


Patent holder Edwin Holmes develops the first networked set of alarm systems monitored by a centralized location, as told by HSMC-UL. The first burglar alarm system went on sale in 1958.


Nikola Tesla demonstrates one of the first remote-controlled devices, a boat called "teleautomation," according to

Early - Mid 1900s

Many different electrical household appliances are introduced, including the engine-powered vacuum cleaner, electric dishwasher and automatic coffeemakers, according to the National Academy of Engineering.


The transistor is invented: a device that allows electronic signals to be amplified, which makes the downsizing of electronic devices possible, explains TechTarget. This made way for new generations of less expensive and more powerful electronics.


Honeywell introduces the T-86 thermostat, "the round," which provides a way to automatically control the heat temperature within a home once set at a desired level.


As states, engineer Jim Sutherland invents the ECHO IV computer, which is able to calculate finances, create shopping lists, track home inventory and turn on appliances. A version of ECHO IV became available for over $10,000.


The X10, a device primarily used for the remote control of home devices, lights and appliances is released, according to Using powerline as well as wireless technology, one controller could operate a variety of devices throughout the house, such as lamps and wall switches.


The term "smart home" is used for the first time by the American Association of Home Builders, according to Richard Harper's book, Inside the Smart Home.


According to, PCS Powerline Systems releases UPB (Universal Powerline Bus), which improves the speed and reliability of powerline wiring for control and communication of electronic devices.


Wireless home technology reaches the U.S. from Denmark with Z-Wave, a wireless technology based on wireless personal area networks (WPAN).


Zigbee, yet another wireless communication specification competing with the likes of Z-Wave emerges, using a mesh network to control numerous devices, with the ability to be linked to a computer.


The Philips Hue LED lighting system is introduced, which provides a way for consumers to remotely program and control a newer, energy-efficient lighting solution via a smartphone app, reports


AT&T introduces Digital Life, bringing customers a home security and automation service with features like digital door locks and an automated thermostat.

2016 and Beyond

The future of home automation will likely bring smart home technology to new dimensions, making it more mobile, more aware of its surroundings and more useful to the home consumer as prototype, as products like Cube and others enter the market.