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With the latest technology available, home automation has hit homeowners with force. Millions of Americans are enjoying the confidence, control, and convenience that home automation brings.
You have a large variety of home automation options available to you. You can scan your property with video cameras, lock or unlock the doors, and turn on or off the lights from anywhere in the world. With some systems you can also control the temperature in your house, play music in selected rooms, and more.
Thursday, January 21st
Frontpoint began leveraging the latest in technology within the home security market in 2007. Since then, they've expanded their presence by integrating their home security with state-of-the-art home automation, resulting in an impressive home automation system at a very affordable price. User friendly options that focus on both convenience and control have allowed Frontpoint to quickly make a name for themselves in the home automation market.
At the heart of Frontpoint's home automation system is Z-wave technology. If you're not familiar with Z-wave, it's a completely wireless home automation technology that is supported by over 200 manufacturers and over 600 home automation devices. This means that with Frontpoint home automation, you're not buying into an expensive, complicated, proprietary system.
Instead, with Frontpoint, when you build or grow your home automation system, you'll enjoy a huge selection of devices with competition that keeps costs down. The result is state-of-the-art technology at a very affordable price.
You can access your Frontpoint home automation system with your Smartphone, tablet, or remote control. You can even program events easily on your home computer so they occur based on automatic triggers. For example, you can program your lights to come on, your thermostat to change the temperature, and music to start playing in your home once your garage door opens.
So, what type of activities can you perform with Frontpoint's advanced home automation system? Here's a sample of some of the functionality available to you:
Window Blinds, Shades, and Drapes
The Frontpoint home automation package is completely customizable. The number of sensors and controls are dependent on the size of your home and your needs. Their home security has a very low monthly monitoring fee with flexible contract terms, and home automation devices are very affordable.
One of the best things we liked about Frontpoint's home automation system is that it's very easy to setup. It doesn't require a professional to come out, drill holes in your walls, and run wires throughout your home. In fact, since it's completely wireless, there's no drilling or wires needed at all. And you can grow your home automation system whenever you want - just purchase the home automation device that you need to add, and turn it on within your network!
Frontpoint holds an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau. They've also earned the coveted Super Service Award from Angie's List, which is the highest honor given by that organization to companies that have achieved a superior service rating.
Frontpoint offers an affordable and efficient home automation system that provides the security and control that most home automation customers are looking for. With state-of-the-art technology, impressive customer service, and very affordable pricing, Frontpoint (1-855-249-9873) earns our highest rating for your home automation needs.
Elan is a California based company that started in 1989 and are pioneers in the whole house communications market. Elan's home automation system has the capability to communicate and control just about anything in a residential setting, if you're willing to pay for it. From entertainment, lighting, music, security, convenience and more - if it exists, you'll find it at Elan.
The home automation technology used by this company is reliable, adaptable, and state of the art. Unlike many other home automation companies, Elan works well with the leading suppliers of lighting and home security systems, digital music sources, heating and cooling systems, and other home automation technology. Based on customer feedback, many people also feel that Elan is easier to program and use on a day-to-day basis than other high-end systems.
The Elan home automation system is very flexible and easy to work with. Homeowners can access their home automation with a computer, an in-wall touch screen, a TV screen interface, an iPad, iPhone, or Android device - whichever is more convenient at the time. Elan can integrate just about anything into one easy-to-access location from home or anywhere in the world.
Some of the home automation options you can enjoy with Elan include:
The Elan website is full of information and gives customers a general idea of the costs associated with their home automation products. Starting at $10,000 for a single room, and with costs ranging up to $150,000 or more for a larger home, Elan is not for everyone. However, many customers and experts say that Elan is more cost effective than some of the other high-end home automation systems available. Elan has also received a number of industry related awards for product innovation, technology and more.
Elan distributes their home automation system in 58 different countries via dealer relationships. Customer service varies based on the location.
Elan allows their customers to automate and control just about any aspect of their home from one easy location. Flexible access, user-friendly interfaces, and a customizable system makes this a great home automation product for those that can afford it.
Crestron is not only a big name in the high-end home automation business, they're the biggest home automation company in the world. The company is based in New Jersey and was started over 40 years ago. Crestron provides home automation products and installation services in many countries across the globe.
Crestron's home automation system allows customers to have "scenes" programmed throughout their house. With the touch of a button on a touch screen keypad, iPod, iPad or web based Smartphone, a customer can change the environment, lighting or sound in a room by choosing a preprogrammed "scene". For example, when going to bed, a "Goodnight" button would potentially turn off the lights throughout a house, change the thermostats, shut the blinds, and more. An unlimited amount of "scenes" can be established on the Crestron system, and they can be customized to individual needs.
Crestron sells their home automation products through authorized dealers in local areas. We found a handful of dealers in the zip codes we sampled and weren't surprised with their presence given the number of years this company has been around. As with many home automation companies, pricing was not available on their website. This is because each Creston home automation system is custom-tailored to the homeowner's needs.
We searched for customer feedback on Crestron and found a common theme - that Crestron is hard to program. While the homeowner doesn't program the system (only authorized Crestron dealers program it), this can result in higher customization costs. However, the advantage with a wide-open system like Crestron is that it can be customized in almost any way you'd like. Some other systems have a boxed-in interface that can't be changed, or only expose certain automation options for the home. With Crestron, the sky's the limit as far as automation goes.
With the great flexibility that Crestron offers, comes a great responsibility on the part of the Crestron dealer. More than any other home automation system, you need to be sure the dealer you hire to automate your home is reputable and knows what they're doing. Of the complaints we found, almost all of them could be traced to the way the system was implemented, rather than with the Crestron system itself. When done correctly, Crestron is easily the most powerful and impressive home automation system available.
If you have a larger home, or desire a high level of automation, Crestron should be the first company you look at. With their high level of customization, industry knowledge, and global reach, they earn some of our highest marks.
Savant Systems is an Apple based home automation system with options for remote control access over audio, video, media and more. Savant stands out as the only home automation system that is built using the Apple operating system platform. The company boasts of a good system response, a customizable iOS interface and more as a result of an Apple product communicating with an Apple built system.
Savant Systems provides a completely customizable home automation option. The system can also be expanded for home control upgrades and changes over time. Owning an Apple iPad, iPod or iPhone are necessary to control the Savant System and a limitation for those that don't currently user or want to use an Apple device.
Savant's home automation system can take control of just about any electronic device in the house. Some examples they provide include:
All Savant products are sold through authorized dealers that provide assistance planning, installing and servicing the system for years to come. Savant is sold across the globe and the professionalism and friendliness of the customer service experience is based on each location you encounter.
Savant is generally not a home automation system for the budget minded. The cost of the entire product and installation is dependent on what features you choose and how large of a home you want to outfit. It's reported that most customers spend at least $10 to $15 thousand and many spend much more depending on several factors. Also, the security system is separate from Savant's product line and an added expense.
If you love your Apple products and have the luxury of a big wallet, Savant provides a savvy, responsive and customizable home automation system with some nice features. But, for those that don't want to be strapped to an Apple device and aren't one to constantly keep electronics on person, Savant may be less of a good fit.
Vivint is a home automation company based in North America that is dedicated to enhancing security, convenience, and energy efficiency in your home. They use a combination of award-winning customer service and smart technology in their home automation product.
Taking advantage of, and using products compatible with Z-Wave technology (a wireless home automation system that allows all your home electronics to communicate wirelessly), the Vivint Go!Control panel in your home can create a network that connects all your home's smart systems such as security, lighting, small appliances, video, HVAC, and more. The home automation system has a very competitive price at $199.00 installed, and comes with many included items:
For home monitoring and system access, Vivint charges a competitive monthly fee. You can anticipate paying $68.99 per month for 42 months, and you can choose to extend your plan as needed. This gives you access to controlling your whole house automation on the system management website through your computer, or via mobile apps on your Smartphone, or other mobile device.
Vivint has many other products available to create a personalized home automation system, turning the individual systems in your house into one streamlined, functional smart home. These add-on products include several different kinds and styles of controls, motion/door/window sensors, smoke/carbon monoxide alarms and even glass break sensors.
Vivint offers a lifetime warranty on all products as well as a three day trial period in the event you change your mind. If you have any questions or concerns about your system, their customer service team is top notch.
Vivint has done a good job of combining home security into a more complete home automation solution. Their quality home automation products, combined with a great history of award-winning customer service and competitive prices, make Vivint a great choice for your home automation needs.
Control4, founded in 2003, has established a home automation product that allows users to control nearly any device in the home. Control4 calls themselves a life style company whose mission is to deliver an attractive and cost effective way to control and automate many features of the home. That includes music, video, energy, lighting, and security. Their flexible product architecture can be utilized in a single room and then expanded to the entire house, and is designed to work with over 7,000 consumer electronics products. We liked that Control4 provides both wired and wireless options for those that are renting, have an older home or plan on moving in the near future and want to take their system with them.
With a control panel, computer, remote control, or Smartphone anywhere in the world, Control4 brings the convenience and luxury of home automation to the homeowner. While there is a large variety of functionality you can enjoy with Control 4, here are some home automation features they can provide:
The Control4 website provides detailed information on available equipment but, like most home automation companies, they don't go into detail on the prices. Control4 does say that they provide quality equipment at a lower price, and we were able to find some customer reviews that backed that up. A full blown Control4 home automation system is going to start at $10,000 and move up dramatically depending on the size of the home. Most Control4 products come with a two-year limited warranty should something go wrong.
Control4 is sold only through authorized dealers and the customer service levels are dependent on the location in which a customer lives. Control 4 doesn't seem to have as large of a nationwide presence as some other home automation companies, so if a dealer isn't in your area, you may be out of luck.
Control4 provides a high-tech home automation system that stands out with some customer friendly and flexible features. Those include wireless equipment options and an effort to be price competitive. Additional customer feedback we found includes user friendly programming and a responsive system. Control4 is worth a look if you have a large budget and are looking for a flexible and friendly home automation system.
Guardian Protection Services offers some home automation options that work in conjunction with their home security system. In the home security business for over 60 years, Guardian has made a positive name for themselves. They've stepped into the home automation market with enhancements to their security system that allows homeowners to take control from any location via a web enabled computer or Smartphone.
Through access on Guardian's website, homeowners may perform a number of adjustments that are centered on home security, access and climate control:
Guardian uses GE manufactured equipment in their home security products. Prices for the combination home security and home automation system vary based on the number of sensors and equipment needed. Also be aware that Guardian works with professional installers and dealers, so their home security and home automation services are limited to the zip codes in which Guardian works.
While home automation is not the focus at Guardian, they do provide many nice features that allow customers to take control of some aspects of their home. For those that are comfortable with a dealer visiting their home to discuss their home automation and security needs, Guardian is worth a look.
Smart Home is a retail website selling affordable electronic home automation products. These products are compatible with many different systems including Insteon, X10, Z-Wave, UPB, and Zigbee. Smart Home calls itself 'The Home Automation Superstore', and while it does have the feel of a discount superstore, it is very functional and easy to navigate. You'll find different product styles and types listed among tabs across the top and left side of the page. The challenge at Smart Home is that you won't find one simple easy automated home package but individual pieces and parts to choose from.
Products on this site seem to be of good value (slightly cheaper than some competitors) and are brands easily recognizable in the electronics, home security, and home automation industries such as GE, Sony, Panasonic, Cortexa, Visonic and many more. There is a wide range of X10 and UPB compatible products. These products use your homes existing wiring to allow products to communicate. Also, Z-Wave compatible products can be used in a wireless network connecting your homes electronics.
SmartHome offers free shipping on orders of $200 or more that chip to a commercial address. Under $200 seems to be your standard FedEx shipping rates, anywhere from $6.00 for ground shipping to over $35 for next day air. The return policy on this site states that items can be returned within 30 days in new condition and original packaging (you will pay return shipping). For defective items, return them within 30 days and the product will be replaced at no cost to you (they will pay the shipping). Smart Home also has a Low Price Guarantee. If you find a national print advertisement for an identical new product within 30 days of receipt, send in the printed ad and they will refund the difference.
This website is easy to use, has many different kinds of products at decent prices. As a retailer of these home automation products Smart Home is a good option but you might want to do your research before you shop here as the product line can be intimidating to choose from.
ADT has been a leading player in the home security service industry for years. Integrating their security system history with home automation services they have created ADT Pulse. ADT Pulse is a system that allows you to arm/disarm your security from almost anywhere, but also gives control of lighting, video, and climate. The system is customizable with 3 different packages.
The Select plan includes:
The Advantage plan includes everything the Select plan has plus:
The Premier plan includes everything in the Select and Advantage plans plus:
The website is very professional in appearance and while the information that is provided is easy to use and understand, there is not a lot of readily available information on the site. The best example of this is that the site wants you to input personal information so they can contact you just to get the prices of the different packages. Outside research on search engines was needed to get price information for the Select and Advantage plans and we were unable to find price information about the Premier plan.
The Select plan will cost $399 for installation and $46.99 per month for 36 months. The Advantage plan costs $749 for installation after online discount and costs $49.99 per month after discount ($67.99 after 12 months). All plans use Z-Wave compatible products which is a wireless system that allows home electronics to communicate via remote control. If you have unresolved problems that can not be fixed to your satisfaction with the first 6 months, ADT will refund your money and any monthly fees during that time period.
ADT Pulse has an overall subpar website with difficult to find, even impossible to get information. The company does have a longstanding reputation of quality products and services but the ADT Pulse website makes it hard to get all the information you need to make a solid purchasing decision.
The Home Automation Store is an online retailer of home automation products, specifically X10 compatible products. X10 products use your homes existing wiring to allow products to communicate with each other. The Home Automation Store also sells some Z-Wave compatible products (which are similar to X10 products except they are wireless).
Searching the website is relatively simple, you may search their short list of product types on the left hand side of the home page with ease. Once you find a product you're interested in you may click on it for further details.
The Home Automation Store has a basic shipping policy but, no discounts or free shipping are available for large dollar orders. The return policy is also straightforward. If an item is damaged in shipping, you can get a full refund. There is a 30 day window to return items with a possible $15 restocking fee. Refunds will be issued within 10 days of receipt. Since The Home Automation Store is not a reseller of their own products, warranty on products is dictated by the manufacturer and may seem complicated for those that want an efficient shopping experience.
The Home Automation store failed to really grab our attention. To purchase a system you need to choose each individual product, and have a strong knowledge of home automation to do this yourself. With their average selection and website we had a tough time getting excited about The Home Automation Store.
Usually all you need is a computer or a mobile phone to easily control and monitor the many aspects of your home. Home automation can also be enhanced with a home security system to offer added security for your home and family.
There are a number of competent home automation companies that exist today. However, these home automation services can vary greatly in features offered and installation costs. Before selecting a home automation system, you should consider the following:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Home Automation solutions available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right home automation system that you're looking for!
Our home is our castle, the archive of our lives, the repository of our treasures, and with ever-rising energy costs, an increasing expense. A home automation system can provide you with peace of mind and lower our energy consumption, a good thing for our environment and your wallet.
Compared with earlier generation home-monitoring systems, the benefits of the new generation of home automation systems - systems that enable us to interact, directly and in real time - with our most expensive possession, can be equated to the difference between owning a horse and buggy and a hybrid automobile.
Today's home automation systems allow more control over home heating and cooling than programmable thermostats that can only follow preset instructions. With most new home automation systems, a Smartphone call from you can bring your home to your preferred at-home temperature settings, rather relying on the clock to make the changes. Suspect someone is cranking up the heat or air conditioning when he is home and you are not? Home automation systems can monitor and report on this.
Going away for a long weekend? Why have your electric water heater working to provide a hot shower unnecessarily. Either access your automation system through your computer before you leave, or use your Smartphone to turn off the water heater until you are on your way back home. Add-on water sensor devices available on today's generation of home automation systems can text or email you that the hot water tank has sprung a leak, so you can call the plumber who you can let into your home using add-on remotely controlled door locks. Not only can you turn on outside and inside lights for the plumber, but with available add-on outside and inside remote controllable, streaming video cameras, you could watch him come, go and make repairs.
Available add-on system sensors can alert you, and potentially your home alarm monitoring service if you choose to subscribe to it, to an unexpected rise in a room's temperature, possibly indicating a fire. They can also detect smoke or a rise in carbon dioxide (CO) levels whether you are at home, asleep, or out and about.
Door and window monitoring devices, including doggy-door monitoring, garage door opening and closing, glass break sensors, curtain movement sensors and motion detectors are also features. Some of them come standard and others are add-on devices, and are features that be accessed for arming and disarming through a central monitoring station in your home through your computer and Wi-fi. These same features can be accessed, as an add-on service, through a keychain device.
Provided you had the iron or the coffee pot plugged into an electrical outlet connected to the home monitoring system, you could be absolutely certain, via your Smartphone, neither was left on and likely to burn the house down.
It is also possible to realize a savings on your home insurance premiums when you have a home automation system in place, yet another benefit of owning a new generation home automation system.
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