Years ago, we watched TV's George Jetson sit in his futuristic home controlling everything with the touch of a button or holding a videoconference with his not-so-nice boss, and thought, "Yeah, right. Not in my lifetime." But now that there's high-speed Internet access for the home, wireless data networks and cool technologies to control your lights, sprinklers and security system via cell phone, that highly evolved home of the future is much more of a reality (minus the nasty boss, of course!).
Home automation systems that automate not only home offices but entire homes are no longer a vision of what's to come--they're here and now. Yet they're more than just nifty technologies to wirelessly access computer files while you're out sunning by the pool or to turn your lights on and off remotely just for fun. Home automation systems improve access to information, make everyday home and office tasks earlier, and afford you complete control over your 21st century working environment: the home.
Ready to take your humble abode into the next millennium? Here's a look at some of the latest home automation tools around--and a glimpse at what's coming down the pike. George Jetson, here we come . . .