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Home automation (also called domotics) is the residential extension of "building automation". It is automation of the home, housework or household activity. Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), appliances, and other systems, to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security. Home automation for the elderly and disabled can provide increased quality of life for persons who might otherwise require caregivers or institutional care.
A home automation system integrates electrical devices in a house with each other. The techniques employed in home automation include those in building automation as well as the control of domestic activities, such as home entertainment systems, houseplant and yard watering, pet feeding, changing the ambiance "scenes" for different events (such as dinners or parties), and the use of domestic robots. Devices may be connected through a computer network to allow control by a personal computer, and may allow remote access from the internet.
Typically, a new home is outfitted for home automation during construction, due to the accessibility of the walls, outlets, and storage rooms, and the ability to make design changes specifically to accommodate certain technologies. Wireless systems are commonly installed when outfitting a pre-existing house, as they reduce wiring changes. These communicate through the existing power wiring, radio, or infrared signals with a central controller. Network sockets may be installed in every room like AC power receptacles.
Although automated homes of the future have been staple exhibits for World's Fairs and popular backgrounds in science fiction, complexity, competition between vendors, multiple incompatible standards  and the resulting expense have limited the penetration of home automation to homes of the wealthy or ambitious hobbyists.