Home automation began with labour-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution and led to the introduction of washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.
In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signalling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available.
By 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed. As per research firm Statista more than 45 million smart home devices will be installed in U.S. homes by the end of the year 2018.
There are three generations of home automation:
First generation: wireless technology with proxy server, e.g. ZigBee automation;
Second generation: artificial intelligence controls electrical devices, e.g. Amazon Echo;
Third generation: robot buddy who interacts with humans, e.g. Robot Rovio, Roomba.
The word "domotics" (and "domotica" when used as a verb) is a contraction of the Latin word for a home (domus) and the word robotics.