The History of Smart Home


Smart homes have been in existence for more than 100 years. Starting with electrical power, residential home infrastructure over the decades has improved to provide interior automated communications, entertainment, Internet, video, climate control and security systems.

20th Century Beginnings

  • The history of smart homes dates to the turn of the 20th century when electrical and telephone wiring, and hot water heaters were installed in new houses.

Postwar Advances

  • Smart homes took a giant leap in the 1950s with the improvement of remote control devices, air conditioning, television sets and advanced kitchen appliances.

Incremental Steps

  • General Electric developed a series of firsts that laid the foundation for the contemporary smart home: portable automatic dishwashers in 1954; self-cleaning ovens in 1963; and digital alarm/music clock radios and over-the-range microwave ovens in 1978.

Hobby to Mainstream

  • Integrated smart home infrastructure was usually built by hobbyists in the 1960s, but it wasn't until 1984 the term "smart home" was coined by the American Association of Home Builders.

Electric Pin

  • In the past decade, the electric pin has emerged in which users wear it to allow the home to anticipate their needs as they move from room to room.


  • General Electric introduced in November 2009 the first smart water heater that switches to an electricity-saving mode during peak use.

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  • Photo Credit Image by, courtesy of Daniel Rothamel
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