30 Years Later: Look Back at One of the Industry’s First Connected Devices

30 Years Later: Look Back at One of the Industry’s First Connected Devices



Controlling lights, HVAC and entertainment systems may seem commonplace today, but when this unique connected device hit the market, more than 30 years ago, it activated an emerging market.

The GE HomeMinder was incredibly ahead of its time upon its 1984 release and helped shape the smart home industry into the thriving market we know today. In hindsight, the HomeMinder may look outdated, but the product was once perceived as something straight out of science fiction.

The original HomeMinder was styled to look like a VCR and it used the TV as the central connection platform—later versions of the system were built into a high-end 25-inch TV.

Graphical representations of connected lights and appliances were shown directly on the TV screen. Using an infrared remote, homebuyers could control their entire home from the couch. 

Users could even call the system from a touch tone phone when away from home. This primitive remote access control required a three-digit password to access the system and custom codes were created in order to turn individual devices on or off.

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SCROLL: See GE HomeMinder’s Features, Video and Industry Impact



[tps_title] HomeMinder Protocol [/tps_title]

The GE HomeMinder runs entirely on the X-10 home automation protocol.
The GE HomeMinder runs entirely on the X-10 home automation protocol.

X-10 Home Automation

The HomeMinder relies on the X-10 home automation platform. X-10 is the most dated connection protocol currently on the market that uses a hardwired powerline system.

The X-10 has since been replaced by newer wireless protocols due to the difficulty of integrating an entire home in cost-effective ways. However, in its prime, the X-10 platform was a ubiquitous protocol that many integrators relied on for every home control project.

Since the protocol requires a hardwired connection, X-10 and the HomeMinder benefit from quick connections. At the time, these quick connections made GE’s connected product seem seamless and instantaneous.

Quick connections of the X-10 protocol refer to the limited amount of time it takes for the initial command to be inputted into the central platform and then the time it takes for an action or trigger to occur.

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About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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