New research from ABI says 1.8 million home automation systems will ship around the entire world this year.

New research from ABI says 1.8 million home automation systems will ship around the entire world this year. Given the number of homes in the world, that's really not that many. Things are about to change, though--ABI's five-year prediction sees the figure rising to 12 million. It's all about new providers enabling the tech, the rise in smartphones and tablets, and the push to save energy by wiring our homes into the smart grid. Phone companies, looking for regular subscriber income, see home automation technology as a natural fit for the future of their business: Smart homes are all about remote control, and now that we're all carrying smartphones and tablets, the phone companies want to be the channel for that data. Communications tech makers see an avenue to build their tech throughout your home, in a totally new market--it's why Cisco, better known for making routers and wireless tech, has invested over $10 million in Control4 (which automates heating, air conditioning, and lighting) this year, and also made a deal with maker Zigbee to sell its home automation gear around the world.

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