What is Home Automation? Tiger Systems Inc. Explains

Jenny Rogers

The concept of the "smart" home-one that responds to your commands on cue, shutting off lights, turning on music-isn't a new one. But recent tech advancements have made the one-time buzz concept an increasingly common facet of modern life. Do-it-yourselfers can find home-automation kits-which feature smart thermostats and security systems to automated pet doors and beyond-at Lowe's and Home Depot. But for those new to the concept, local biz Tiger Systems Inc. has you covered.

"We've been doing home automation since we opened in 1985," says owner and president Bob Levell. "When people ask, 'What is home automation?' my answer is simple. Think about the last time you were in a bank. Maybe it's been months, more than a year. Why? You do things electronically. You use an ATM to get cash. This technology has automated your lifestyle."

The idea's the same in the home, Levell continues. "Home automation is a way to relieve yourself of the mundane, day-to-day events. I haven't turned a light on or off in four years. I haven't touched my AC in that long," he says. "The goal is that hopefully you'll have more time to do other things."

Here's how you can implement automation to turn your own abode into a smart home.

Garage: Home automation allows you to be more efficient and more secure. "People always ask, 'My kid leaves the garage open all the time; do you have something for that?' We do. We can set the garage door to close after a programmed amount of time and to open and close from your smartphone."

Thermostat: Home automation can help you manage energy consumption. "From my office, I can increase or decrease the temperature in my home, right from my iPhone," Levell says.

Security: Tiger Systems Inc. can install a wireless security system that can be monitored from a smartphone or tablet.