Don Hunt, writing for the Chicago Tribune, says that the promise of the last 10 years–a single, simple consumer-friendly home automation system–might actually be realized.
He’s referring to Z-Wave, a wireless method for controlling lights, appliances, and the like. I have to agree that Z-Wave is compelling, I’ve begun using it around my house, and its speed and reliability is much better than any real-world alternative.
But in order to have a chance, Z-Wave needs broader software support, easy-to-buy modules, and the technology must be built into common appliances. The latter was never achieved by X10, even some 25 years after its invention, so it might be too much to hope for. But without integration, it seems that home automation might always be doomed to the geek fringe and tinkerers.