In those homes of the future demonstrations that were all the rage back in the 1960s the idea of a fully automated home was one that always looked appealing. Homes where everything was done automatically, often by a robot helper, but sometimes by an all-knowing computer whose role is to make life easier for us humans.

Somehow or other we’re still not quite there as yet, but the automated home is much closer than we imagine. Right now you can invest in home control equipment and use a laptop or tablet to control the devices in your house through the power of the network. Thanks to fast internet connections you can control things even when you’re not at home.

The level of home automation depends on how much money you want to invest, but at the lower end you can buy simple plug adaptors. You connect your appliance, generally a light, in and connect the adaptor to your local Wi-Fi network and in a few clicks you can switch your light on and off without leaving your seat. As things become more complex they get more expensive too, but there’s a lot you can control. The sophistication of home automation moves quickly once you’re past the basics and there are systems that require a complete re-wire of your house. Unless you’re really looking to make everything automatic that’s perhaps a bit ambitious.

Turn the lights on and off without leaving the couch or change the thermostat so the heating comes on before you get home. There’s so much to home automation that can add extra convenience to your daily life and all controlled from a laptop or tablet running Windows 8.

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