I struggle with the term home automation. It bugs me a lot because typically it’s synonymous with things that are not automation. I interpret automation as things being done for us. I walk up to my door, it unlocks. My house is set to a particular temperature, the lights come on. When I leave, the door locks behind me, the lights turn off, the temperature turns down, etc. Automation as in “automatic”. The problem is that these features today need to be programmed by the user.
Instead, what we mostly have now with Internet-connected devices is home control. We have the ability to remotely actuate the devices — either through apps, by voice, or through scheduling.
The first is the scenario we really want. As more devices get learning abilities (like Ecobee and Nest thermostats), the more we can inch towards true automation.
The ultimate goal of automation should be to remove the cognitive load needed to control things around us. Did I leave something on? Do I need to adjust the thermostat? Did I lock the front door? The less we have to think about these things, the more we can collectively think about making life / the world better. Right now, for most users, there is more effort needed to get automation setup then it returns in offloading cognitive function.