How smart is your home? Image courtesy of

If you’ve ever shopped for a home-automation system, you know that it can feel like being in a cheap mattress or appliance store. It’s nearly impossible to compare products and systems in an apples-to-apples way, and the options in this fast-changing world are overwhelming. How to know you’re doing the right thing? Enter John Baumeister, who ran an electronics firm under his name for 19 years, and his new consulting company, Tech Tonic. Since Baumeister doesn’t sell or install products and is not beholden to specific brands, he can make objective recommendations. He can review a proposal for you, generate user manuals you can understand, review your existing system and make recommendations for upgrades/changes, and help you do an apples-to-apples comparison of various systems and proposals. Sounds like an idea whose time has come.