Home automation tops technology Christmas gifts for 2017

Jim Gaines for USA Today:  This year’s hottest high-tech Christmas gifts aren’t about doing something new. They’re about doing familiar, mundane tasks automatically, with a word or a click.

“Smart home” technology connects disparate electronic devices to one control, often voice-activated such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant service. Through control centers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, a verbal command can control lights, music, temperature, appliances, sprinklers, security and other home functions.

Sales of those control systems exploded this year because their operation has become much simpler, and more functions can be integrated, said Adam Groenewoud, specialty sales manager at Best Buy in Town & Country Commons.

"It started coming out last year, but it was very entry-level,” he said. "Now they have such an assortment in smart home technology that you can really find the right device to integrate into the home for you.”

The appeal of smart home devices is broad-based, but their use varies, Groenewoud said; older shoppers may want just one or two functions connected, while younger buyers are more likely to automate all the functions they can.  Full Article:

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