I have been involved in a number of home automation projects over the past few years, and seen this interesting space move from that of dedicated enthusiast to more of a main stream topic. Hive and Nest have invaded a large number of homes in the UK, providing efficient heating controls. Lightwave RF can be used to remotely control power, and hue can change lighting colours. All from the comfort of your sofa, or even whilst you are down the pub!
One area which still has to gain more of a foothold in the mass market is robot vacuum cleaners. I have used an iRobot Roomba in the office for a few years and it worked perfectly, keeping the floors dirt free. Now having moved to working from home, I felt it was time to free myself from the burden of monotonous vacuuming. We moved Roger, our trusty Roomba 620; upstairs. and purchased a new(ish) Roomba 760 for the downstairs. These two devices now provide a complete daily vacuum of all the floors in the house. Significantly reducing the amount of time either myself or Julie need to spend on this necessary but ultimately boring task.
There are some pitfalls to the robot vacuum cleaner, mainly they love to get tangled up in loose cables. So you need to be extra careful, I have pulled all of the loose cables off the floor and even tied the ones under my desk to the frame of the desk. This not only stops the Roomba from getting tangled, it also keeps thing looking nice. However, it is a pain when things need moving around. So where possible I have used Velcro straps.
These are the areas home automation should focus on, tasks which need to be performed regularly, and if done with the little and often approach can reduce or eliminate to monotonous tasks we all hate. Now my home is cleaned, well heated and energy efficient; without any further intervention by me. OK I still need to empty the waste bins on the Roomba’s and perform occasional maintenance, but the daily grind is reduced. Add to this the wonderful bread maker providing fresh bread, my life is much better off for the robots in my life.