Gadgets

Amazon opens one-stop-shop for home automation

Image Credit: Amazon

It’s ironic that home automation, which promises to simplify our daily lives, is such a massively complex market, with hundreds of competing products, disparate standards, interoperability concerns, and more.

So Amazon has opened a new store to reduce that complexity and help consumers find all the compatible products they need for home automation.

“The aim is to simplify your life and help you live comfortably by automating everyday tasks and giving you remote access to your home when you’re away,” the company says on its new store, which is heavy with guides and introductory manuals.

Properly wired, connected, and programmed, your home’s lighting and heating can be automated to turn on and off at designated times. Gardeners can time plant and lawn watering, and those concerned with home security can alarm doors and windows, install cameras, set radios to turn on — simulating someone home — and view their house remotely from smartphones or laptops.

New tools also allow you to enable monitored, personalized, and timed access to your home for repairs or cleaning. Or, of course, wake up to your favorite music at just the right time.

But it all takes technology that works together. And it hasn’t been simple to enable.

Part of the problem is that the industry is very young, with competing products and standards that haven’t coalesced into simple, unified offerings yet. Via International, a company formed by the merger of six home automation startups, is attempting to do that, and Microsoft has been making some initial moves in home automation, as has AT&T, while companies like Electric Imp are trying to provide a management solution for devices from many different manufacturers.

Now Amazon is providing a single place to buy just about everything related to home automation.

“Get started today and find out how simple it is to DIY your home automation,” the company says in the new store.

Time will tell if home automation is about to become as simple as buying some components, installing them, and expecting them to just work. Having dabbled a little in home automation myself, I’m not holding my breath just yet.


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