Or are we? Google's recent acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion makes it seem like we are closer than we think to fully automated housing. Nest, a technology company whose most well-known product is a thermostat that learns the daily habits of its users, is the perfect example of how valuable home automation has become, to its users and to other companies like Google.
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"Homes are going to become smart, not just from building materials, but being able to automate them with control lighting systems through computers, air conditioning systems, security, the whole range of things, from locking mechanisms, even managing utilities from individual appliances is going to be a big, big part of the single family home," said Lawrence Scarpa, a California-based architect with Brooks + Scarpa.
Right now companies like Comcast, AT&T and Microsoft are offering devices that not only allow us to control things in our homes from a distance, but connect all the automation on one platform. Energy efficiency is behind much of the drive toward automation, but security isn't far behind.
The August Smart Lock, is one of the latest technologies, allowing homeowners to control their door locks from a mobile device.
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"When you add an electronic door lock to your home, you have the power of encryption technology, so you can basically give a key to one person at a time and you define it for that person for a particular day," said Jason Johnson, CEO of August, on CNBC's Squawkbox.
The smartest technology, which learns from the homeowner, is evolving; buyers today are still getting used to simpler applications that allow them to control their homes' thermostats and other utilities from a hand-held device. These offerings are available but not always standard in all new homes.