Who is the Father of Home Automation?

Home automation is about 30 years old: what single person really kicked it off?

Who is the Father of Home Automation?
Frox inventor: NOT the father of home automation
Julie Jacobson · February 5, 2013

As part of our 20-year anniversary of CE Pro, and our celebration of the 20 most influential people in custom electronics, we posed this question: Who is the father of home automation?

The question got lost in a sidebar, so here’s your chance to weigh in.

Let’s hear from the oldtimers. Do any of these innovators fit the bill? Anyone else you might pick?

Tom Riley, Unity Systems: Pioneer of touchscreen-based home automation with the Unity System, still in operation in many homes today after more than two decades; leader in utility demand side management.

George Feldstein, Crestron: Popularized touchscreen-based home control and invested heavily in the category.

Scott Miller,
AMX: Innovator in home control, and one of the most colorful personalities in the business; emphasized extreme customer service.

Bob Farinelli
, Elan Home Systems: Visionary founder and accomplished engineer who was one of the first to invest heavily in high-end home control.

Jay McLellan, Home Automation Inc. (HAI): Purveyor of the first integrated security and home automation system, with possibly the most installs of any home automation vendor.

Peter Lesser
, X10: Brought home automation to the masses with low-priced, easy-to-install powerline based products; inspired better solutions such as UPB, Insteon and Z-Wave.

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

Blogs · 20 Years · All Topics
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