I often receive emails asking questions like “What should I automate in my home?” or “What is the best way to wire my new home?”. Unfortunately … getting your home connected and automated is a little more complicated than choosing a paint color or kitchen cabinet style. The choices are varied and the requirements are personal.

Smart Homes for Dummies is a great book for those who are interested in moving into the future of home automation and networking and are willing to spend a few evenings learning about what it is and how to go about the process. In the spirit of the “Dummies” series of books … this one is very well laid out and speaks to the layman in simple terms. It give a great background of the various systems that can be networked and automated in an average home and good advice for making the decisions necessary during the process.

Here’s a condensed version of the Table of Contents:

Part I: Future-Perfect Homes
Part II: Making Your Home an Entertainment Center
Part III: Now We’re Communicating!
Part IV: Livin’ Off the Fat of the LAN
Part V: Keeping the Bad Guys at Bay: Security
Part VI: Putting It All Together: Home Automation and Control
Part VII: The Part of Tens

As you can see … all aspects are covered. Tips and Warnings are included. One of the best chapters is:

Chapter 4: Getting It Done: Timelines and Budgets
New or Existing Home?
What Do You Want from Your Home Network?
Deciding How Much to Spend
Going Over the Costs
The Home Team
Get out your napkin
The final push

This information is the key to a successful project … Deciding what you want to do, how much to spend and then putting together a team to carry out the work.

Overall I would, and do, recommend this book as a great starting place and reference. The only problem is that it was published in 1999 and this industry changes monthly so some of the information is dated. The good thing is that the basics don’t really change and once have learned them you can turn to HomeToys to find out what advancements have been made recently 🙂 My only disappointment is that we are not mentioned in the list of Ten Great Web Resources 🙁

Smart Homes for Dummies
Pages: 384
ISBN: 0-7645-0527-0
Retail Price: $21.99
Publication Date: 5/1999