The History of Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology has come a long way in recent years, but the progression wasn’t so quick when the first concepts came onto the scene.

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In the beginning, a smart home was reserved for early adopters and the wealthy. That’s certainly not the case anymore! Read on to learn the history of smart home technology.

First Smart Home Technology

The modern beginning of smart home technology can be traced back to 1975 with the release of X10, a home automation platform that sends digital information through radio frequency bursts onto a home’s existing electrical wiring. Early adopters of this technology could remotely control devices in their homes using a command console and modules.

Cutting More of the Cord

Silicon Labs introduced the Z-Wave platform, which also employs radio frequency for smart home technology,  in 2005. It operates in the sub-1GHz band, which is not affected by interference from Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth. Products with Z-Wave built in form a mesh network and can remotely communicate from device to device. Homeowners can also add non-Z-Wave products to their network by plugging them into Z-Wave accessory modules.

Smart Home Technology That Learns

The Nest Learning Thermostat, developed by former Apple engineers, was introduced in 2010. It changed the game for smart home technology by making at-home wireless Internet the channel of choice for remotely controlling devices. It also introduced the power of data collection with its ability to track activity in a home and automatically program the smart thermostat settings based on that data. In 2014 Google purchased Nest Labs, putting the search engine giant at the forefront of the smart home tech race.

One App for All

Apple threw its hat in the smart home technology ring when it introduced the Apple HomeKit in 2014. With it, homeowners can remotely control compatible devices such as locks, lights, the thermostat, smart plugs, security cameras and much more through the Apple Home app.

Smart Speaker that Speaks

It wasn’t until after the first Amazon Echo smart speaker was on the market in 2014 that the mega online retailer realized the product’s potential in the smart home space. Alexa, the virtual assistant for Amazon’s smart home products, is now a household name—literally. And homeowners can control upwards of 28,000 Alexa-enabled devices using simple voice commands.

The Race is On

Playing catchup, Google released its first Google Home smart speaker in 2016. Designed to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home does a lot more than play music. It, too, features a voice-activated virtual assistant that can control multiple smart devices throughout a home. According to Google, there are more than 5,000 Google Home-compatible smart home devices available and counting. Where will smart home technology go next? The possibilities seem endless.