(Pocket-lint) - The term smarthome has become increasingly common, no longer a phrase we associate with the future, instead become something of the now.

The evolution of the smarthome hasn't happened overnight however. It has been a long road to bring us to the present day and there have been many key milestones along the smart home road, such as the very thing that connects it all together becoming more affordable.

You might think that smarthomes started with a connected thermostat or lightbulb, but there was a lot more happening before we arrived at that point.

Without home appliances emerging in the first place, we couldn't even begin to consider the possibility of receiving notifications from them, Or even sending them messages.

The smarthome journey has followed a long and winding road and will continue to do so as new technologies and devices continue to launch.

Domestic appliances make life easier

Jorge Royan (cc)

Around the turn of the century, and racing into the 1900s, homes changed as electricity became more commonplace, enabling the advent of domestic appliances and the shift from mechanical to electrical systems.

Electricity was used to create heat - for hot water, for toasters, for irons - and in motors and pumps, for washing machines and other devices.

Appearing throughout the 1930s and well established in the golden age of the domestic appliance in the 1950s, it was here that our homes started to get smarter.

The friendly thermostat evolves

Honeywell

With homes getting more comfortable, the Honeywell T-86 Round thermostat was introduced in 1953 and instantly became a design classic for the 1950s home.

It was born of Honeywell's work in heating and regulation, a natural mechanical evolution to manage the heating in your home.

The T-68 Round is still in production today.

Home computing becomes a reality

Ruben de Rijcke

While electrical systems were important, the arrival of the home computer saw a changing tide in intelligence and the dawn of the silicon era would bring about the demise of many mechanical systems.

Although many control systems moved to electronics, the advent of the home computer was a huge milestone for smarter homes.

The IBM PC hit the mainstream in the 1980s, with names like Atari and Amstrad competing for space in your home. Although these computers didn't take control of your home, it was the beginning of homes getting connected.

Broadband and Wi-Fi connects homes to the world

Linksys

While many home computers had been used for work, gaming, or storing information, the 1990s saw the internet flourish, dial-up modems become common and the birth of the information era.

Although slow in speeds initially, the 2000s ushered in broadband, seeing many people connected all the time.

With the inclusion of Wi-Fi, for a wireless connection, homes could connect any number of devices both to each other and to the internet.

The dawn of the smartphone

BGR

Although cell phones had been common for a number of years, it was ultimately the emergence of the smartphone that would change the tide again. With homes connected, computers went wireless, they went portable, they got smaller. Inevitably, early pocket computers such as those from Palm and Compaq, evolved into smartphones.

The 2007 launch of the Apple iPhone saw the shift in emphasis from native applications to those developed by a range of different companies. It also saw the rise of a new generation of smartphones that would find their way into the pocket of almost everyone - and provide a platform to control our increasingly connected homes.

Now, to create a connected home device, all that was needed was a device that connects to the internet and an app to control it on a smartphone.

Connected domestic appliances arrive

Pocket-lint

The first internet device - a toaster - was apparently created as far back as 1990. It could be turned on and off using the internet. Things have moved on along way since then though. Almost all domestic appliances from TVs and washing machines to kettles can be connected.

Many major manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, Hoover Candy and AGA Rangemaster all offer connected appliances.

They aren't just controlled via the internet though - they are controlled via the smartphone and they offer a range of different features from delivering notifications to you when they are finished, to allowing you to browse the web on your fridge door, for example.

Connected heating makes smart useful

Honeywell

Connected heating is one of the biggest milestones when it comes to the smarthome as we know it today. You may not need a connected washing machine, but being able to adjust and schedule your heating via an app on your smartphone is genuinely useful.

It's something that's been around for a few years now but the market is evolving rapidly and there are now not only several players but each offers plenty of functions, such as multi-zone control with Honeywell's Evohome.

Honeywell is the company that made the thermostat friendly in the first place, as we mentioned. It offers several options when it comes to connected heating though from Evohome to its Single Zone Thermostat and its smarter thermostat - Lyric, while Google offers the likes of Nest.

Connected lighting makes smart exciting

Pocket-lint

Just like connected heating, connected lighting has also been a major milestone in raising the awareness of the smarthome.

The advent of Philips Hue in 2012 allowed people to see how a small change could be exciting, changing the mood and providing variety without moving off the sofa or physically changing bulbs.

Philips Hue has been copied by many other manufacturers, but it is still the brand that everyone wants to work with. It proves that interoperability between different services is the key to a smarthome.

Major players emerge

Apple

Following the launch of Hue and the likes of Honeywell's Wi-Fi connected thermostat, many other major players hopped on the smarthome bandwagon, with plenty still hopping on board.

We saw the likes of Samsung acquire SmartThings, Apple launch HomeKit and Google acquire Nest all in 2014. LG also launched HomeChat the same year, a service that allows you to text your LG connected appliances.

The last couple of years has seen the devices available and the companies involved expand rapidly to include smart cameras, smart plant carers, smart coffee machines and smart kettles.

Autonomous appliance make for an intelligent home

IFTTT

Being smart is different to being remotely controlled and it isn't just about being connected either. We have now moved into a position where the smarthome isn't just about devices that are controlled by your smartphone, but devices that will connect to each other and other platforms to work together.

The robot lawnmower that senses rain and knows not to cut. The smart vacuum cleaner that finds its way around by mapping your home. The connected heating system that uses IFTTT to turn your heating on when you start to make your way home without you having to do anything. The future isn't a smarthome - that's already here - instead the future is an intelligent home.


The Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector is an early warning system that notifies you on your smartphone when a leak is detected or the temperature drops below a temperature of your choice. By catching it early, you may be able to avoid expensive repairs and loss of treasured items. To find out more visit Honeywell.com

This article was created in association with Honeywell.