Artist's impression of Avantra high tech apartments in Mascot, due for completion in 2015.
If you have a smartphone or tablet and a wireless network, you're already halfway there to turning your home into something out of The Jetsons.
All you need now are the ''smart'' gadgets that will transform your humble abode into a high-tech hacienda.
There's no need to spend big. The Belkin WeMo Switch ($59.95) is a low-cost solution that lets you turn any of your appliances on and off using a free iPhone or Android app, even when you're out of the house.
You can control appliances manually or on a timer. You can also combine the Switch with the WeMo Motion ($119 for the Switch + Motion together) to turn your appliances on and off, based on motion detection.
The most powerful way to use the Belkin WeMo system, though, is by connecting it to the free IFTTT (If This, Then That) service, which lets you set up triggers and actions that revolve around various online services. You can, for instance, get your fan to switch on whenever the humidity level reaches a certain temperature.
You could also set up your living-room lamp to turn on whenever the sun sets, or whenever you check in at home using Foursquare. The new WeMo Light Switch ($69.95 each) allows you to control all your household lights on your smartphone with the WeMo app.
There are even smarter ways to operate your lighting if you're happy to pay a little extra. The Philips Hue Connected Bulb - Starter Pack ($249.95) is quite possibly the most expensive three-pack of light bulbs in history, but it comes with a wireless bridge that connects them to your wireless network.
You can do a lot more with these big-ticket bulbs than simply switch them on and off. Using the Hue app (available for Apple iOS and Android), you can adjust the colours and brightness for each individual bulb (the entire rainbow is at your disposal), set them to turn on and off on a schedule, and have them turn off automatically whenever you leave the house with your smartphone. You can also preset ''scenes'' for your lighting to match your mood, or base the lighting scheme on one of your photos.
You can also inject your front doorbell with a hefty dose of smarts by hooking it up to the Doorbot ($US199). This nifty device turns your analog doorbell into a sophisticated surveillance system, complete with a live video feed that you can check on your smartphone to see who's come knocking.
If you combine the Doorbot with the Lockitron (US$179) - a device that fits over your existing deadbolt - you can also let people into your house remotely, have the door automatically unlock whenever you approach, and get notifications whenever your front door is opened. Both the Doorbot and the Lockitron can be installed and set up in minutes.
If you're in the market for a new home, however, you may want to skip a piecemeal solution in favour of a house or apartment that's pre-fitted with the latest in home automation. The advantage of this approach is that everything can be controlled from a single app on your smartphone or tablet.
The new Avantra serviced apartment block in Mascot, which is scheduled to be completed in two years, fashions itself as the most high-tech housing in Australia. Each apartment comes with an iPad that lets you control all of the home automation functionality, such as opening and closing the blinds, controlling the lighting and appliances, and setting a favourite song to play as soon as you get home.
The piece de resistance, however, is the virtual butler service called iButler. From the same app on your iPad, you can order goods and services from pre-vetted providers such as drycleaners, car washers and online groceries without needing to be physically present at home. Goods that need to be dropped off are stored in an intelligent on-site locker, which includes a refrigerated compartment for groceries, and this sends you a text message whenever something is deposited. Service providers such as cleaners and babysitters can also be given temporary access to your home using the wireless entry system.
But this sort of home automation doesn't come cheap. Apartments start at $499,000 for a one-bedroom unit, and go up to $1.49 million for a four-bedroom penthouse.