Smart homes, a growing trend in Houston

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON, TX - It seems that everything is getting smarter and smarter these days: smart phones, smart cars, smart watches and, of course, smart homes.   From science fiction to reality, almost every device at your place can now be connected to and operated from your phone or tablet.

"Easily put, it's a way to bring all of the control whether it's from air conditioner, televisions,  blinds, lighting, anything you can imagine that's electronic… being able to control it from one interface," explained Marcus Lovely, project manager at Unlimited Integration.

Clearly, home automation, or the "internet of things" as folks call it, is here to stay.

"People want to simplify their lives," he added.

And it only takes a click… or a knock.  Knocki, a Houston-based start-up has developed a new gadget that can transform any surface into a remote control.

"And whatever surface you attach it to, the entire surface becomes interactive", described Jake Boshernitzan, co-founder of Knocki.  "So, you can set up for two knocks to turn off lights, maybe four knocks would set an alarm, you can program it to brew coffee.  You can knock on a wall to find your lost phone, or get a text message if someone knocks your front door."

It's like the Clapper for the 21st century.   And speaking of dreams come true… or nightmares… what if your smart home gets hacked and somebody else takes control of your bedrooms, living room or even the shower?

"We put several devices in place to eliminate that risk", Lovely assured.

In any case, the Consumer Electronics Association says connected home technology revenues in the U.S. climbed to $967 billion in 2015, up 32% compared to 2014.  Not bad at all.  Whoever's cashing in on all that is definitely very smart.