If you live in a small space (dorm room, studio apartment, etc.) where full-on home automation systems such as Insteon or X10 aren’t very practical, an IR (Infrared) universal remote can be a great home automation solution. For those who have large/multi-story homes, systems like X10 or Insteon have a clear advantage over IR technology, which is limited by line of sight. However X10 and Insteon systems can be quite technical and require some work to fully integrate into the home. IR home automation is a perfect (and less intimidating) solution for small open spaces.
X10 and Insteon also require appliances and devices that specifically work with their protocol. With IR automation, you’re able to use any household gadget originally sold with an IR remote, ranging from a variety of devices like light switches, fans, heaters, and even mood lighting. For products not sold with an IR remote (i.e. on/off appliances such as lamps), one can simply purchase an IR controlled AC socket. You can use just about any universal remote that is capable of learning IR codes, but Logitech’s Harmony One is a great option in particular. It has a built-in database of household devices and can be setup to do a series of commands with just one button (its sleek design also makes it one of the best-looking universal remotes around). Setup is relatively painless with Logitech’s included software. All one needs to do is search for the manufacturer and enter in the product number. If by chance the product isn’t found in Logitech’s database, you can easily have the Harmony One learn the commands from your device’s original remote. For more on home automation, check out some of our previous posts: