Home automation tech advances, but is it for real or just a Jetsons dream?

Orduña explained that there has been a perfect storm of both technologies and mobile devices paired with high-bandwidth availability such as 4G LTE networks. This confluence of new factors in turn has driven its customers to desire an always on, on-demand service.

It's come a long way from the old alarm box users scrambled through the door to turn off.

"[Home automation has] been around for a while in a lot of different iterations," Orduña said. "I think only now are we getting the other elements that comprise the market in place. Big name manufacturers are implementing it, we've got chipsets and embedded solutions, which in my mind are always critical for ubiquity."

Orduña continued to list a few names like Qualcomm, which is looking at home automation from a joint perspective of AllPlay to share media and the Smart Gateway Platform to build connected homes. Meanwhile, Intel and McAfee teamed up with ADT to develop a solution for locking down users' digital security in the event of device theft.

You are the controller

The overall message of home automation at CES 2014 was to develop simpler interfaces for users. Through voice control home automation systems don't need to be programed on a schedule or directed with command prompts like an old DOS computer.

In another evolution of smart home technology we sat in for a demonstration of PointGrab's PointSwitch and AirTouch systems. Similar to the Microsoft Kinect, PointGrab's two systems recognize gestures using a camera, though this system only needs a 2D color image that any snapper can capture.

PointSwitch allows users to simply point at an object to turn on a lamp or gesture downwards to dim the light. PointSwitch comes in the same form as a smartswitch with the key difference being that instead of taking commands from a smartphone, it watches a user's hand signals.

Meanwhile, AirTouch acts similar to Air Gestures on the Samsung Galaxy S4 - it understands touch controls even if the user's hands are hovering over the device. AirTouch is like Air Gestures on steroids.

Instead of a just a smartphone, AirTouch works with laptops and even HDTVs. What's more, we were able to simply hold our finger over an icon on a Smart TV from far away, and AirTouch recognized its location before changing the channel a second later.

PointGrab's technologies have been around since 2010 and have made their way into over 100 devices. Most famously, PointGrab's motion sensing technology has been used to help develop Samsung's Smart TV gesture controls.

When will it all be ours?

Make no mistake - the truly smart home still isn't here yet. There are many definitions for what makes an intelligent home but everything on the market and in development still needs some form of direct input from the user, whether it be mobile phone directives, voice commands or gestures.

For a truly smart home to exist, it needs intelligence. The ability to recognize users' behavior and develop a schedule with little to no input from the user is ultimate home automation.

We may not be there yet, but that's not to say we aren't on the way.

Smart devices have begun to cluster around smartphones and tablets as a hub to create a network that didn't exist before. This has helped the home automation world in two ways - by shrinking smart technologies into a smaller package and building a world that's always connected.

With a few more advancements like these, the truly smart home could just be around the corner. Who knows what we'll see at the next CES 2015.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.