| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

Designing the brain of the Home of the Future with Grant Imahara

(upbeat music) – Getting smart home technology for a home of the future
has never been easier. There are smart versions of
just about every household item. Smart lights, smart speakers,
even a smart refrigerator. But connecting them all together to make a truly smarter
home can be a nightmare. So how do we connect
the home of the future? Well, you need a serious
brain, like this thing. And to integrate it, requires
some serious brain power. Pete Sandford is the
owner of Smarter Homes, a company that helps to
customize and maintain home automation systems. He’s what’s known as an integrator, and his role is to bring
all the smart devices of the home together, which is essential for
the home of the future we’re building here in Austin, Texas. ‘Cause we’ve got a truckload of cutting edge technology to install. – This is probably 25%
of what’s gonna come and make the home of the future. – You’re kidding me. The home of the future
has a lot of stuff in it. – [Pete] Yeah, takes a
lot of parts and pieces and everything’s gotta
speak the same language. – [Grant] Wow, that’s a lotta languages. – [Pete] Oh yeah. – [Grant] Someday these
devices might be fluent right out of the box. But for now, we need
an integrator like Pete to give the different
dialects universal language. And even a tech savvy guy like me who’s more than capable of
installing his own smart devices would have his hands full
trying to unify everything. Over the next month or so, Pete and his team will
work to wire the home to handle all the smart
technology we’re packing into it. Now maybe you’re thinking, “Wires? Shouldn’t our
future be more wireless?” While there’s some promising
developments in wireless power, we’re still years away from having anything reliable enough
to even consider installing in our home. So instead, for Pete and his team, their goal is to make
these wires invisible. So, Peter this is the moment of truth. I mean, last time I was here, this was just a hole in the wall with a bunch of wires coming out of it and now we have the super
computer brain of our house. I mean, when I think of a super computer, I think of War Games
and the whopper computer the (making whirring sound) But, this is gorgeous. What’s inside here? – Everything. This is as good as it gets when we’re talking smart home technology. So, here we’ve got our two Sonos players for feeding the indoor and outdoor audio, our Wattbox, which is acting as a cutoff for power to each individual
piece of equipment. We’ve got our Luxul switch
which is feeding network to all the individual
pieces of components. We’ve also got our AT&T modem. That’s feeding the
internet from the street into our system here and then
out throughout the house. Our Denon surround sound receiver which is handling all the surround sound in this room and the video
and audio in the next room. We’ve got our Lutron communicator which is wirelessly communicating with all the light switches. Our two Roku players for both
this room and the bedroom. Our amplifier here which is powering all the landscape speakers
and subterraneal subwoofer. We’ve got our PlayStation 4 for gaming, and finally, probably the
most important part in here is the brain which is
the RTI XP-8 processor. And this really helps
us bring all of these individual items together
and integrate them onto one easy-to-use interface. – So you don’t have a million remotes. – Yeah, or a million apps. (laughs) – That RTI system that Pete mentioned, you can think of it as
the operating system for the entire house. And it’s highly customizable
based on the user’s needs. So this is the whole
interface for everything that’s in that rack? – Yup. This is Remote Technologies, Inc., sitting with us is Matt, he is our wizard, or RTI programmer. And he’s the one who makes
the system easy to use and function organically with a family. – So through this interface
you’re controlling everything in the house of the future? – Pretty much everything. Some devices don’t connect
into automation systems, they might have a closed
or a partially closed API. – [Grant] API or application
programming interface is the key part of how you
integrate products into the home. Devices with very open APIs allow us to integrate their controls in a deep way with the home system. Whereas devices with closed
APIs block our ability to link their features
with the rest of the home. For example, our Nest security
camera on the front door has a closed API, so we couldn’t get that camera feed into the RTI system. In contrast, the IP
cameras around the home are completely able to
be integrated with RTI, which allows us to pull up a feed of what’s going on around the home directly from the RTI system. – So, this is the dashboard
for the entire home. Got our controls and
activities for the living room, our patio audio, our nest climate control
for the whole house. Normally, in most systems, you’ll just see it’ll say Apple TV. Here we’ve dialed it in to specific apps. So I know I watch Netflix, I watch Hulu, everything that needs to
happen to watch Netflix then happens at the push of that one button without navigating anything. – Okay, so let’s say I
got a new gaming system, I see you’ve got a PS4,
what if I got an XBox. – [Pete] We could just
grab in an XBox icon, and then program it to where it’ll switch to that gaming input for the Xbox just at the single push of a button. – [Grant] RTI is also
able to plug into Alexa, which opens up the entire
system to voice control. However it introduces an extra step. Instead of saying,
“Alexa, turn on Netflix.”, I’ll have to say, “Alexa, tell Home Butler
to turn on Netflix.” So, a little more awkward and frustrating if you forget, but soon we’re told that the system will be upgraded to avoid having to do this additional step. – But that’s kinda the easy
side of the programming. Matt gets us into more
of the advanced side, where you’ll have shortcuts, you know, for things that you do everyday. So like Good Morning or Good
Night or Welcome Home or Away. – So show me what Welcome Home does. – So come in here, open up that function. You’ll see right now
we’ve got that programmed to set the living room to Netflix, playing some music in the landscape, we’re altering the
thermostat temperature to 70, and then we’ll turn on
some lights in the kitchen, the living room. But only if it’s dark, so if you’re coming home in the day, the rest of the functions
will still happen, but the lights will stay
off to conserve energy. – And that level of house
wide control of our devices is really the strength
in a system like RTI. The ability to string
together so many devices to function as one home is the goal of the home of the future. The downside to this smart integration? Well, besides the up front fees, there’s a $30 monthly service
charge for tech support, and a twice a year visit from a programmer to make any changes. So Matt I’m looking at this, and I’m getting really excited
’cause I’m an engineer. Is this something that I
could take this software and run with it myself? – No, the end user
doesn’t actually typically program the system, we
do that just for the sake that we can make sure we get
everything in the right order. – So you’re saying no to prevent me from being a danger to myself. – Correct. – And while it would take a lot of work to attempt this kind of
high-level integration ourselves, a low-cost workaround is
to use only smart devices that already speak the same language. For example, if you got
Google Home, Chromecast, and Hue lights, you
could probably get most of the features that we have in our home for under 200 bucks. But for the home of the future, having a bunch of smart devices
alone isn’t good enough. All this technology needs to
function together seamlessly. – My job as the integrator is
to take all of these things and make them all communicate
together on one system that’s easy to use. – Might not be all the way there yet, but we’re closer than ever. For now, our home of the future
is as unified as it gets, making life more convenient and enjoyable with the push of a button. Thank you so much for watching. Now that you know what it takes to connect the devices inside
of our home of the future, how do you integrate the
devices inside of your home? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll see you next
week with a new episode.


The Verge

Aug 8, 2018, 1:00 pm Reply

Which smart devices do you use in your home?

Web Wolfy

Mar 3, 2019, 6:48 pm Reply

Yess! Lets all hand over full control over our homes to some piece of closed source software, can't wait to see what happens when finally some hacker does reverse engineer it and discovers some nice 0days….

Jeffrey Supit

Mar 3, 2019, 2:46 am Reply

"home of the future" title on the app interface doesn't sit well in my brain. i rather have a meaningless name like "netfilx" or "hulu" or whatever. imagine if netfilx decided to name their company "cinema of the future?" do they offer sdk for their system?


Mar 3, 2019, 8:51 am Reply

Still doesn't improve quality of life, still a hassle and breeds lazy people.

Ashutosh Singh

Mar 3, 2019, 10:24 am Reply

Ugh just use a raspberry Pi and a few sensors you really need. Have Alexa and they're you go, already smart.

Leo Marsh

Mar 3, 2019, 10:51 pm Reply

I thought my house was smart because I had an Alexa. Wow

res oguite

Apr 4, 2019, 4:31 am Reply

What if there is no electricity? How will the owner enter his home?

Yuki De Jesus

Apr 4, 2019, 8:26 pm Reply

i like the vid. I am actually having electricians run wires throughout my house and every bedroom. Cat6A 4 – 8 ethernet ports in each room. im in IT so few networking and setting up these stuff is simple. except for the assigning each thingy this guy is doing. they have their own software.


Apr 4, 2019, 8:38 pm Reply

I have a $100 Logitech Harmony Remote that can provide 85% of this control. For the additional cost this system just isn't worth it.

Leonardo Gómez

Apr 4, 2019, 3:13 pm Reply

That PS4 is gonna make serious heat.

Tom Dees

Apr 4, 2019, 12:51 pm Reply

How many thousands $ plus monthly fee and you will need a programmer to make changes!? ? Nothing more than an add for those with pockets so deep there is no bottom. The only thing "smart" in my home is me ?

Alex Tana

Apr 4, 2019, 8:32 pm Reply

you triggered my alexa

Jarrod Coombes

Apr 4, 2019, 5:30 am Reply

I have not seen Grant in a while, but I gotta ask, whats going on with him here? I cannot decide if the guy has had some sort of brain aneurysm/stroke that he recovering from, or if we was straight up drunk while recording this.

As for the content, that's rich people's smart home tech. Hardly anyone who makes less than 500k/yr would get it. As for techies, they'll probably generally stick with something like openhab. While I'd be concerned about how future proof it is (it isn't, those integrators make their money off of having to come back and upgrade things in a year or so), I have to admit it is very polished, which is what a buyer of that caliber expects and pays for.


Apr 4, 2019, 3:28 am Reply


Visual Poetree

Apr 4, 2019, 7:00 pm Reply

Are all these services only available in the US

Sagar Amlani

Apr 4, 2019, 5:56 pm Reply

Google Home's interface is doing much of what RTI is doing and therefore making such software redundant surely?

What was described on the Welcome Home steps was simply a routine (do this, then this, then this etc). That was not revolutionary at all.

First-Aid 0x1

Apr 4, 2019, 6:59 pm Reply

This is stupid.


Apr 4, 2019, 11:50 pm Reply

"Its a supercomputer running on this" HAHAHAHAHA HA HAHA HAHAHAHA okay baby, and i have a ferrari.

Guillaume Gaudreault

Apr 4, 2019, 9:18 pm Reply

This is truly mesmerizing and frustrating. I wish i could dive deep into this system to really understand HOW the RTI communicates with other devices. It probably uses IR for the TV, and web access for others, damn. I guess i'll become an integrator myself.

Jubei Kibagami

Apr 4, 2019, 12:43 pm Reply

This is great and awesome. If the API's can all be open and make it easier to get Z-wave and Zigbee to work together instead of getting all these hubs to support each "language". Also the network will need to be able to support all the multi in and multi out "MIMO". That way the router or switch can support more and more devices as the years go on. The wifi mesh is a good alternative to this if you prefer to go wireless instead of the video where it's all Cat6a i bet. Cable is still better as wireless data bandwidth will cap at some point but with cables you can get the stability you want. Very good video. I like how the guys told Grant that he can't but i am sure Grant is smart enough to configure all of this with that custom app since the language to configure it looks very easy.

Randy Mcnutt

Apr 4, 2019, 5:49 pm Reply

Rip off


Apr 4, 2019, 9:28 pm Reply

Good to know that the "home of the future" locks out homeowners from making changes to you know… their own home.

Misael Cifuentes

Apr 4, 2019, 6:44 am Reply

Home of the future includes fiber and Poe switches. Didn't see many in this video.


Apr 4, 2019, 12:21 pm Reply

This isn’t even that hard of a system to do tho, using mqtt for a lot of the lower level smart devices and then some like Home Assistant to bring other devices together.

Raman Pratik

Apr 4, 2019, 1:03 pm Reply

Windows XP on a macbook pro


Apr 4, 2019, 10:12 pm Reply

Anyone know the name/brand of the cabinet in the video?

Chopper Style

Apr 4, 2019, 9:56 am Reply

Please clarify the $30 a month is probably for Domotz. It is a remote management that’s part of Luxul Network gear. It monitors all of your network devices and lets you know if something has issues.

SC Mac

Apr 4, 2019, 12:34 pm Reply

This is not the home of the future. ADT offers this simple offering. The end user is the cash cow, so we program it for you. Arghh

Not SO Fast There

May 5, 2019, 4:50 pm Reply

RTI = EHHHHHHHHHHH thank you for playing ! Johnny what do we have for the losers ?


May 5, 2019, 11:27 pm Reply

I just get the wife to turn things off in the home.. it's more cost effective

Joshua Howard

May 5, 2019, 7:27 pm Reply

This is way too complicated to be the home of the future. Ridiculous lol. People should wait 3 years before installing incredibly complicated systems like this.


May 5, 2019, 6:56 am Reply

What no Savant ?…..Boo

No Signal Gaming

May 5, 2019, 11:26 pm Reply

Do how do I get this people to install their tech in my home ???

Mecene Baronvil

May 5, 2019, 3:37 am Reply

lol….. lol……lol….

Tom Lester

May 5, 2019, 6:56 pm Reply

They failed right out of the gate with a proprietary system and integrator. Big $$$ and ongoing fees forever when you need to update or add/remove items.

oscar salguero

May 5, 2019, 5:45 pm Reply

$30. a month? really. RTI remotes and automation are not difficult to program, RTI want to get an easy money which is not fair. at all.

Fahrizal Johari

May 5, 2019, 4:51 am Reply

"where's the PS4 console? where the disc? oh… so in other room? ok"

Esteban Negri

May 5, 2019, 11:03 pm Reply

Do they know about wifi networking?


May 5, 2019, 9:34 pm Reply

Don't listen to this video, its a pile of horse poop, My house has every devices connected to the internet, either through Wifi or connected Ethernet… I had no dude shuffling below my floor boards..
Most ISP's give a moderate modem/router, if the range isn't great for you then you can use Wireless Access Point (they plug in you power socket and boost the range) or an Ethernet power line adapter (again plug in to power socket, new ones give you the power plug back).

I would say that a good modem and Router is the key, don't always stick with the ISP's choice.. I'm in the UK and I have replaced my Modem/Router with a DrayKet Vigor 130, connected to a TP-Link Archer 5400 MU-MIMO Tri-Band router, I get extended Wi-Fi range and every device in the house has Internet Connection

At the moment (22:32 at night) I can see 4 wired connections and 9 Wireless connections.


May 5, 2019, 7:55 am Reply

4:03 Matt is using MacBook Pro with Windows 7 🙂


May 5, 2019, 12:55 pm Reply

why bother with the renewable energy when you are running around with that huge product placement Ford and are packing an army of devices that will be obsolete within a year and are running a server that uses more energy per month that your typical dishwasher 😉


May 5, 2019, 12:08 pm Reply

Let’s not forget his computer building skills


May 5, 2019, 3:57 am Reply

Software dev's' be like pfffft.. hold my beer…


May 5, 2019, 12:02 pm Reply

PS4 for gaming lol.

Jaipal n1997

May 5, 2019, 6:02 am Reply

Put QR code technology on the top on the door it will scan it us and to enter into the home

jose gonzales

Jun 6, 2019, 7:03 pm Reply

I see many comments about the lack of user programming.
That is the #1 deterrent for me.

There is no reason other than lack of unifying structure.
All smart devices should be able to host a webpage and password access.
DIY ESP32 stuff is all over, but most require using their app to setup.

Peter Peters

Jun 6, 2019, 9:51 pm Reply

I use Homey from Athom.


Jun 6, 2019, 10:41 pm Reply

It completely loses scalability for new technologies. This system doesn't make any sense to me. And more, think about selling your home after couple of years, your house's new owner would barely love the bunch of mess in the wall.


Jun 6, 2019, 5:48 am Reply

Try vivint

Víctor Miranda Beltrán

Jun 6, 2019, 7:20 pm Reply

logitech harmony does just that. I have the same setup. Btw, if you use a good AP like the ubiquity, you can support dozens of devices

Vishal Gaurav

Jun 6, 2019, 4:29 am Reply

5:35 homes of future possible by old OS. ?

Jeremy Acosta

Jun 6, 2019, 1:14 am Reply

House of my dreams

Sam Ortho

Jun 6, 2019, 6:19 am Reply

I integrate my devices with a single finger

Chand Nug

Jun 6, 2019, 12:58 am Reply


Robert Skitch

Jun 6, 2019, 11:33 am Reply

This video didn't really do anything to convince me that there was any reason I would need a smart home or why it's the home of the future? It's a lot of wires and infrastructure for the convenience of not having to get up to turn on a light switch?

Carson Stark

Jun 6, 2019, 3:48 pm Reply


Zachary Moon

Jun 6, 2019, 6:02 pm Reply

That RTI XP8 8 is $1600 alone.

Christopher Burns

Jun 6, 2019, 4:40 am Reply

SmartThings + actiontiles = everything they did at substantially less cost, with no monthly fees, and frankly a better UI.

The only myth that needs busting on this one is why I wasted 9min watching this.

Sabrina Grant

Jun 6, 2019, 6:53 pm Reply

home of the future trying to be energy efficient and more sustainable for the planet, yet a truck instead of a tesla.. ?

Ary de Oliveira

Jun 6, 2019, 9:56 pm Reply

raspberry pi


Jun 6, 2019, 7:01 am Reply

imagining the power consumption costs

Elliot Vistman

Jul 7, 2019, 12:29 am Reply

Didn't this guy work on TechTV?

tean tan

Jul 7, 2019, 1:37 am Reply

Future homes don't need to install Too many gadgets, gadgets in this home are overkill.

Lily Chan

Jul 7, 2019, 6:02 pm Reply

When you said Alexa , my Alexa replied back lol

Maximus World

Jul 7, 2019, 4:59 pm Reply

What price are we talking about here


Jul 7, 2019, 11:40 am Reply

I feel like these guys are stuck in the past.
This system is so poorly made.

Robert Dumitrache

Jul 7, 2019, 5:30 pm Reply


Mike Sanchez

Jul 7, 2019, 6:18 am Reply

RTI(savant, control4, urc, crestron) is a high-end home automation integration system meant for clients that demand reliability. It's definitely overkill for most of The Verge's viewers. But the customizability far exceeds anything one can pull off with a handful of Amazon gadgets. I would even go as far to say this is a modest set up. Nevertheless, an $80k home automation experience cannot be matched with $900 bucks worth of "smart home" gadgets.

Mike Shoss

Jul 7, 2019, 11:51 pm Reply

Can someone point me to this cabinet? Or a version like that.

william mv

Jul 7, 2019, 10:54 pm Reply

This is ridiculous they're making it a like a big deal like it's really easy i have 90% of their stuff and I've set them up on my own not a team and wires and all that crappy stuff

Zahir Hameed

Jul 7, 2019, 3:02 am Reply

Please discuss the security and privacy concerns that comes with a home controlling super computer.

Marcel Tr

Jul 7, 2019, 10:24 am Reply

Wtf just get a raspi 4 and install openhab on it and Programm your chirps and other stuff and you have the same thing just better

Benjamin Anderson

Jul 7, 2019, 9:11 pm Reply

Coded on windows, displayed on an iPad. Lutron? Really… Can you use zwave/zigbee? What happens now that Google has closed NEST?

dario D

Jul 7, 2019, 6:25 am Reply

its simple! just use SONOFF!

A. Nilla-or

Jul 7, 2019, 1:48 am Reply

I can be wrong, but those devices seem to have so little space for them to breathe. or maybe you already have ventilation that you didn't mention 🙂

Colton Morris

Jul 7, 2019, 2:23 am Reply


Fariz Afaf

Aug 8, 2019, 2:40 pm Reply

hello Joji!!!

Shah Mohibi

Aug 8, 2019, 1:03 pm Reply

video is really REally GOod Delivered

Adam Montgomery

Aug 8, 2019, 7:42 am Reply

Lame! So you have to carry around a tablet through your house for it to be "smart"


Aug 8, 2019, 8:50 am Reply

Decided to do a google search for the XP-8. Hmm "This model has been discontinued"??

Matt Brooks

Aug 8, 2019, 10:23 pm Reply

Very kool , great video !

keep up the good work

Rionaldy Triantoro

Aug 8, 2019, 4:59 am Reply

Anybody here know what the cabinet that holds the "brain" is called? I wanna make a clean server rack for my home office

Heche L

Sep 9, 2019, 11:07 pm Reply


Razor Bucks

Sep 9, 2019, 2:20 am Reply

17 seconds in, he was really pulling that patch cable.

Sanket stationery

Sep 9, 2019, 8:24 am Reply

Can you came at my home


Sep 9, 2019, 12:13 am Reply

Useless video

Jake Saunders

Sep 9, 2019, 6:59 pm Reply

Does anyone know the name of the AV cabinet

Badoo Renc

Sep 9, 2019, 12:45 pm Reply



Sep 9, 2019, 10:35 pm Reply

I was loving everything until he mentioned that Att modem?


Sep 9, 2019, 5:44 pm Reply

Their idea of a smart home is full of gimmicky and NSA tech.

Adrian C

Sep 9, 2019, 3:33 pm Reply

Home Assistant. End. Sometimes it's better to make a little effort and get into the learning curve. Then you see things like this and they are useless and/or expensive without any purpose. Don't fall in "okay, but you have to study at NASA to get HA running and then it's horrible", do not. It can be customized up to the maximum detail AND (most important), you can use it trough Apple Home for example. So anyone can use it with a nice/known/integrated interface.

Micah Wagoner

Sep 9, 2019, 2:20 am Reply

Why in the world was the programmer running such an old version of Windows on a MacBook? Such a weird combo.

Micah Wagoner

Sep 9, 2019, 2:21 am Reply

All that, and no NAS? No Plex? Why?


Sep 9, 2019, 9:20 am Reply

"Everything has to speak the same language."

"That's a lot of languages."

I'm sorry what?


Sep 9, 2019, 2:49 pm Reply

What is RTI could anyone help me with that .
I'm getting it as right to information is it right

Don McCollough

Sep 9, 2019, 8:23 am Reply

Sorry, but I prefer to hardwire. Faster and more reliable, especially for networking a smart home and the devices inside into one hub.


Sep 9, 2019, 10:18 pm Reply

Hey Grant, engineer your own system using Openhab on a cheap SBC ?


Sep 9, 2019, 4:33 am Reply

The thing is, Why does it have to be just one system, I have both Alexa and Google Home products, they are individually good for different things and it works, its not exactly hard to ask either Google or Alexa to do something and it costs VASTLY less than a system like this.


Oct 10, 2019, 10:25 am Reply

Grant is a lost soul and a sellout. Who would have guessed looking back at his mythbusters beggings
DOnt listen to a word he says.

Andrew Sipes

Oct 10, 2019, 3:04 am Reply

“… everything’s got to speak the same language.”

“Wow, that’s a lot of languages!”

“Oh yeh.”

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