Cell phones, tablets now remote controls for your home - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Cell phones, tablets now remote controls for your home

Posted: Updated:
New service allow people to control everything from locks, to lights using mobile devices. New service allow people to control everything from locks, to lights using mobile devices.
Frank Medley Frank Medley
Home automation lets you keep an eye on your house where ever you are. Home automation lets you keep an eye on your house where ever you are.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some are now calling cell phones, a remote control for your home. We talk on them, we shop on them and now we use cell phones and tablets to operate electricity, security systems and more. So how does it work and is it worth it?

Frank Medley thinks so. When Medley comes home he leaves his keys in his pocket and pulls out his cell phone instead.

The Louisville AT&T salesman showed how his company's digital life service lets him control everything from his locks, to his lights, using mobile devices.

"I have it set up to where I can turn my Christmas tree on or off from by phone," Medley said. "And it's as simple as pushing a button on your tablet."

"If I come home at night, I unlock my door from here," Medley said pointing to his iPad. "I can turn my light on and off, that way I'm not walking into a dark house."

It's called home automation and it doesn't stop at the front door. Home automation lets you keep an eye on your house where ever you are. You can see the outside from the inside, using cameras positioned around the exterior of your home. And you can see the inside from the outside, using cameras placed in what ever room you choose. And you watch it all from your tablet or mobile device. You can even record video of what the camera is capturing onto your tablet, in case you were to need it for police or any other reason.

AT&T isn't the only one now offering home automation in Louisville.

Time Warner Cable just launched its IntelligentHome service locally and some big box stores offer similar systems.

Home automation is still only in a fraction of American households.

Telecom research firm Berg Insight estimates that just 3.2 percent of North American homes currently have a smart home system - meaning a fully integrated, comprehensive automation system that combines security, energy conservation and home electronics management capabilities. But by 2017, the number of North American homes with smart systems is expected to jump to 16.6 percent. That number might be optimistic. But home automation users are definitely on the rise.

With AT&T it costs about $700 in start up equipment, and $60 a month in subscription fees to get the remote controlled security, electricity and climate control. Water sensors and water shut-offs to protect against leaks drive up the cost even more. But similar systems cost tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago.

"We're really just tapping into the beginning of home automation" said Hank Mangeot, AT&T's regional manager for external and legislative affairs. "This is digital life at its launch."

"It makes the tablet or your cell phone the remote control for your life," Medley said.

Prices could fall even more, as companies look to lock down, the next wave in wireless dollars.

To friend the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter on Facebook click here. To follow on Twitter click here.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.