Home Theater This home automation system from 1985 puts most modern-day smarthomes to shame

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Home automation is still perceived as a budding market despite the fact that solutions have been around for years. And by years, I mean at least 30 years which is when the home automation system in this video from YouTuber Avboden was released.

Once you’ve managed to look past the green and black color scheme, it becomes apparent that this 1985 home automation system from Monaco Enterprises (their website is equally as old) is extremely robust. From the main directory, you can adjust temperatures complete with scheduling, control lighting and appliances and control the security system - all via touchscreen.

As Gizmodo points out, it’s a bit depressing when you realize how little progress has been made in the field of home automation over the past three decades. It also highlights just how fragmented modern-day home automation really is and makes you wonder how many separate products would be needed today just to match the capabilities of this dinosaur of a system.

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TechSpot Paladin
The thing is this has actually been too expensive to be taken by a lot of developers, it's still a niche and while it's not mainstreamed it might take a long long time to reach the desired results.


TS Member
"As Gizmodo points out, it’s a bit depressing when you realize how little progress has been made in the field of home automation over the past three decades."

The thing about home automation has always been that it's so darn expensive. That system from the '80s easily costs many thousands of dollars, even before accounting for inflation. Something for the rich and famous. People like security and automation, but not enough to put down many thousands of dollars for it. That, plus a system that old runs on wires, so you're probably paying a good deal of manual labor for an electrician.

I'd say we're on the verge of seeing next-gen systems that are cheaper and more available to middle class homeowners. Several things have happened and are happening that are very interesting:

* The emergence of low-power wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth low energy.
* In fact, wireless technologies are themselves becoming mature and secure.

Wireless technology is key to decreasing the cost of these systems, as you don't need to rewire a house, which itself was a major expense for installing a home automation system.

* Thanks to cell phones, there's an increased interest in low cost sensors.
* The "Internet of things" has . . . become a thing. Thus, there's an increased interest in technologies related to this.
* Kickstarter became a thing, which has surfaced a lot of interest in low cost devices related to home automation.

There is, however, one major barrier: Lack of compatibility and standards. That panel has the advantage that it's all under one manufacturer, so it can connect and control everything as a cohesive whole. However, the Internet of things is very fragmented, with lots of separate things that don't really connect into a cohesive whole.

That said - we're in a very innovative and exciting point right now, with costs going down! I'm actually very interested to see more middle class homes become smart, rather than it being a "rich and famous only" thing as it has been for the past 30 years.