You’re leaving the office, and you want your house to be comfortable when you arrive home. Using your smartphone, you turn on the air conditioner so that when you walk in the door, the house is a perfect 70 degrees. Or maybe you want your sprinklers to turn on and water your lawn precisely when the grass needs it. Or turn on the stove to begin preheating for dinner . . . or any number of other automated tasks. While many of these features might seem like something out of an episode of “The Jetsons,” they are completely possible with today’s automated technology. And while there is a certain “cool” factor associated with home automation, the real purpose is to make our lives easier while in many cases also reducing energy costs. With automation, our homes’ major systems and appliances operate at their optimal levels according to strict requirements, and can be controlled right from a main hub within the home or even from afar using a smartphone or tablet.