The Evolution of Home Automation Part 1: The Beginning
Home Automation is the practice of automating household appliances and entertainment systems in residential homes through sometimes complex installation methods. Is that clear enough for you? We didn’t think so. So what is home automation and how has it evolved through the decades? Let’s break down home automation and look at the innovations and inventions that made it possible for you to control a multitude of activities through one smart system.
The beginnings of home automation start from as far back as the time of the cave man. Fire was most certainly the most useful advancement in home automation. Fire made conveniences like cooking, heating, and sanitation possible. Convenience is what home automation is all about. But let’s not start quite so far back. Instead, let’s begin in more recent times with the introduction of electricity into homes of millions.
Electricity is the birth mother of modern home automation. After all, what is multi-room audio and HDTV distribution without electricity? Because of electricity families could stay up late into the night and read a book or eat dinner. The hassle of buying and lighting candles was eliminated. Light was attained by simply flicking a switch thanks to Lewis Latimer in 1884. Thomas Edison was quoted as saying: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” (WikiQuotes).
Not long after, mothers could keep their perishable food items cool in the home refrigerator, saving time and money. The Franklin stove provided more heat than an ordinary open fireplace and became a staple in early American homes. The introduction of the dishwasher in 1886 helped ease the burden in the kitchen while the invention of the vacuum cleaner in 1869 eased the burden in the rest of the house. Early home automation wasn’t just about ease but about saving money.
Electricity also paved the way for the first telephone, introduced into the home in the late 1800’s. Now families can connect with each other from across the country. The automation of communication meant no delays, instant access to information.
A significant step in access to information came with the invention of the radio in 1891. The radio brought entertainment and news to the public. The invention of the phonograph, or record player for the younger crowd, allowed families to listen to any tune they wanted from any room in the home. Convenience is what makes people go out and spend their hard earned money.
But electricity isn’t the only contributing factor to early home automation, the invention of the thermostat was a welcomed addition to many homes in the late 19th Century. Until the invention of air conditioning in 1902, home owners had no way of regulating the temperature in their homes. What was once a luxury item has now become a necessity. That is the nature of home automation. All these inventions and innovations were just the beginning. Imagine the changes that the late 19th century family experienced. Now think about what is yet to come in home automation. That is what we will discuss in the next article in the Evolution of Home Automation series. We have only laid a foundation for the home automation industry. This early era of home automation paved the way for all the modern conveniences that we enjoy today.
Special thanks to Wikipedia and Wikimedia for providing the information given.