Dubbed the "responsive house" in 1975, the concept was promoted as the Smart House for decades by the NAHB. After every Builder's Show, when a new Smart House demonstration home was revealed, it was met with much intrigue, and perhaps a little skepticism. JLC kept tabs on the trend (for example: "Smart House Sweepstakes," Jan. 1988; "Home Automation Update," Feb. 1992 and "Smart House: They’d Do It Again, But ...," Jan. 1993), but it wasn't until the Internet matured, and after smart phones became ubiquitous, that the concept seems to be closing in on those often-hyped expectations.
While Google is making the biggest push into the latest incarnation, now dubbed the "connected home," other big companies are positioning themselves in this burgeoning market, as well. According to Jenna Wortham in the New York Times, big players including Time Warner Cable and AT&T offer connected home systems, and Staples, the office-supply chain, is selling light bulbs and other products that can be controlled by a smart-phone application. Apple has also jumped into the game by securing patents for a line of "iHome" products, which will reportedly enable the iPhone to control home devices.
The right network (the Internet) and the right device (the smart phone) are finally making all those Smart House dreams come true. Wortham reports the connected home products market could grow to $40 billion within five to seven years.