The Next Wave In Home Control Technology?

by Joseph Palenchar On 9/6/2012 6:05:34 PM
Wi-Fi tablets and smartphones have entered the market as the main controllers of home automation systems, complementing or – in the opinion of some people – replacing dedicated home-automation touchscreens.
So where will evolving technology next take us in home control? Voice control and near field communications (NFC) could be next.

Here at the EXPO, Control4 said it plans to offer wireless voice control over home systems connected to its home-automation systems. The company teamed up with HouseLogix, an Allentown, PA-based installer and developer of home-automation software drivers, to add that company’s voice-control technology to Control4 systems. With the technology, consumers speak commands into a tabletop microphone/speaker called a VoicePod, which converts voice commands into control signals that are transmitted over wireless ZigBee to a Control4’s home-automation controller. The VoicePod, powered by household current, will recognize voice commands from across a room.

For its part, Crestron plans smartphone-based NFC technology for one-tap triggering of room settings for lighting, temperature, shades, entertainment systems and other systems connected to a Crestron automation system. Paper-thin tags, about one-square-inch in size, can be placed behind wall keypads and faceplates. When an NFC-equipped smartphone is near the NFC tag, a room’s systems will automatically change to a user’s preferred settings.

NFC technology is also coming to the car, by the way. Earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show, Harman International demonstrated the uses of NFC in a car. When an NFC-embedded smartphone was placed near an NFC tag embedded in a demo vehicle’s passenger compartment, the vehicle automatically adjusted its seat positions and infotainment- and navigation-system settings to a user’s preset preferences. Voice-control technology, of course, is already available in passenger vehicles to control infotainment systems and other vehicle electronics.

We’ll see if these technologies become accepted in the home. What’s your opinion?
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