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It's Not Science Fiction Anymore... Home Automation Gets Real

Boot Camp feature for Monday, June 5, 2000

Call it home automation. Call it a "wired" house. Some might even call it a little scary. But more and more homes are being built today with technology that lets you control everything from lights, temperature, security and appliances over the Internet or with a wireless phone. I've been using some simple to use technology called X10 that has been around for years. It doesn't require any re-wiring. But if you really want a gee whiz kind of wired house, sort of like the Star Ship Enterprise, you've got several choices. IBM has a spin-off company, Home Director, working with home owners and contractors. So is a company called Coactive Networks. Why would you want a smart house? Coactive's David Gaw...

"Some of the more popular services are... get an email notice when the kids get home from school. Many security systems have a mode that tells you when somebody comes in the door and you might like to have a notice that the kids got home from school on time. There are safety services that allow you to, for example, have a notification sent to you and or a neighbor and or a repair person when there's a leak in the basement."

With a wireless phone... you can even open an electronically controlled door to let the repair person in. System prices start at about three hundred dollars. You can look for our full archive of reports at ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.