Many years ago I embarked on automating my house with X-10. It was very cool and I had a lot of things automated at the time but it took a lot to keep things going. Sometimes it felt like a Token Ring installation that was beaconing (what the network did when you exceeded the maximum number of devices on any one ring).
Many of the newer homes in the DC area start out offering a home automation system. They are hard wired into the house so once you are in the home its hard to expand them. There are a number of lower end and higher end wireless solutions in the space now.
Control4 to me seems to have the best blend of expansion, capabilities and in the end wireless functionality. Compared to what you could do with the old X-10 systems it is pretty amazing.
To me it feels like the dawn of home automation. You see it in all the movies now, the concept of an automated home (Almost Human did a great one about the system being hacked).
Google’s purchase of Nest really helps move that concept forward. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 both offer incredible “living room automation” that the previous versions of the products also did not but as easily or as robustly. One remote to rule them all and in the living room bind them.
Western Digital offers the MyCloud series. Drives that share your internal content to a cloud service. You can then connect from any device to view your photos. Video’s are a little trickier (I am still converting mine to a remote playable format). Of course the problem with all the photos we have is more navigation than sharing.
Go-To-My-PC offers a great iPad/Android Tablet application that you install on your PC and your tablet and you can connect at will. Hop To and Parallel’s offer similar functionality.
Soon your automated house will be your remote asset. You won’t have to worry that you left the file on your computer at home. You simply connect, wake up that computer, grab the file and then shut that computer off.
Oh to live in interesting times.