by Christina Peden

Once thought of as out of reach for most Canadians, home automation via mobile device is set to be available to the average consumer. Today in Toronto, Future Shop showcased the latest in home automation technology at their downtown Smart Home.

The Smart Home loft space features home automation technology for everything from lighting to security for both indoor and outdoor spaces and comes at a time when home automation is becoming more accessible after emerging as a top trend at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

According to Zayn Jaffer, Future Shop`s Director of Home Audio and Home Automation, "creating an entry-level ‘smart home’ can cost less than $1,000, has no monthly fees attached and is classified as an easy-to-install, do-it-yourself project."

Homeowners can set their thermostat, provide guests with an electronic front door key and control lighting and switches from anywhere in the world using their smartphone. Some of the devices on display at the loft included the Weiser Kevo Bluetooth deadbolt lock, the Nest Learning thermostat (which was acquired by Google in January,) and the D-Link outdoor wireless HD security camera, which has been weatherproofed to stand up to Canadian elements.

In a recent survey conducted by Future Shop, more than 80% of Canadians polled said they would like to own more smart home technology. “The home automation category is rapidly expanding at [Future Shop] as consumers love having peace of mind, comfort and security at their fingertips, no matter where they are,” said Jaffer.

Dale Morgan, owner of the downtown Toronto smart loft adds that “home automation gear can help us manage our busy lifestyle and save us money.”

Home automation tools allow easy access for home owners to keep an eye on pets and children, as well as utilities. The D-link wireless cloud camera 5000 allows users to monitor, via mobile device, activity in a particular room of their house.  In addition, the camera includes night vision, pan/tilt design, HD video, and 2-way audio, meaning parents and pet owners can communicate with their children or pets from anywhere via the camera’s built-in microphone.

According to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, “home automation is predicted to be the No. 2 trend in residential remodeling over the next five to 10 years”, so expect this latest wave of technology to become increasingly commonplace in Canadian households.