1) What are the most popular smart home automation technology systems that consumers install in their homes?

Statistically, alarm systems top the list, but that’s no fun. Automated blinds, curtains, Home theaters and whole-house music systems generally come in second, followed by lighting controls, energy management and home automation. Home automation is basically the integration of two or more of these “subsystems” as they’re known.

2) Are these systems affordable for the average homeowner?

Absolutely. You can control blinds, curtains, some lights, a thermostat and your TV system. At a reasonable price, the system might pay for itself in a few short years if you use the technology to manage energy costs – cheaper than a solar power and fun to boot. Some DIY systems can give you integrated control and automation for very little money, while professionally installed systems generally over more advanced control, better interfaces, and more reliability.

A professionally-installed automation system offering whole-house music, multiroom video, surveillance cameras, controlled blinds, controller curtains, security systems, lighting controls, smart thermostats and home automation can be done at affordable price (depending on the size of your home, the complexity of the programming and the number of integrated devices). That would include remote access via the Web or smart phone.

3) How much can you trust your home’s automation to take care of these details for you, i.e. to close your curtains, blinds, to lock your doors, turn off the lights, etc? Are most pretty foolproof?

The individual systems in the home or office, such as curtains, blinds, lights, thermostats and security, are known as “subsystems.” The magic of a home automation system is that it affords much richer control and integration of these subsystems. Almost always, if the automation system fails, the subsystems keep on ticking. It just might be a little inconvenient for you. For example, you might not be able to turn off 20 lights at the press of a button, but you can still turn them off the old-fashioned way.