Like home theater rooms built around actual IMAX screens. Thanks to packages like the $35,000 Prima Cinema, homeowners can even watch new films the same day they hit theaters, with the movies downloading automatically and accessible via fingerprint scan.
Even regular televisions have gotten more high tech treatment, with companies like VIA International motorizing them to drop down from the ceiling or come out from under the bed to be viewed at the foot of the mattress. Another option: camouflaging them behind mirrors and walls, invisible until the touch screen is activated.
Another growing trend is a digital backsplash, typically installed just above kitchen countertops and below cabinets where tiling would traditionally go. These smart walls can pull up security camera feeds, display pictures or the kids’ artwork, or be used to search the Internet for recipes, all with fingertips.
Thanks to Apple’s Siri, the next major trend that will invade homes is interactive voice control. Once companies work out the kinks — and several are clamoring to do so — voice controlled-home automation will become more than a silver screen scene in the Back to the Future franchise. “Voice command and gesture control are definitely on the horizon,” affirms Thies.
Still, for every WiFi-connected automation system in the home, there comes greater exposure to privacy and security risks. As my FORBES colleague Kashmir Hill recently discovered, it can be surprisingly easy to hack into a stranger’s home through their automation systems. “As we bring the things in our homes onto the Internet, we run into the same kind of security concerns we have for any connected device: they could get hacked,” Hill notes. And companies are scrambling to remedy that, incorporating stronger password protection and in some cases, recalling older products. VIA International says cloud-based software is also being developed that will enable providers to monitor the tech inside their clients’ homes to, in part, watch for digital intruders.