Studying up on ‘smart homes’

Science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury speculated about the wonders and dangers of smart houses back in the 1950s. By the late ’70s, companies had begun developing primitive systems that could transmit simple commands through a home’s electrical wires. Today’s home-automation systems use a combination of wired and wireless technology to enable fingertip control of every electrical or electronic device in the house.

Software developer Rick Dwyer of Hingham worked with Advanced Communication Technologies of Rockland to install such a system in his roughly 6,000-square-foot, $1.8 million home. At first, “I didn’t really know the full scope of what was possible,” Dwyer said. “I said, ‘all right, so tell me what’s possible, and figure out where we want to lie.’ ”

Today, he strolls through his home, iPad in hand, master of the house. Using software developed by Savant Systems LLC , Dwyer can remotely control home heating or cooling, tune in a basketball game on the living room TV, and play Sinatra tunes in the kitchen while Led Zeppelin is blasting in the basement.

But Dwyer is a cautious pioneer. While he enjoys controlling his home with the tap of a tablet, he’s not interested in home automation devices that make their own decisions.

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