Smart Home: A Complete Guide
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
Me- “Alexa, turn on my romantic playlist on spotify and dim the lights.”
Alexa- “Turning on romantic playlist and dimming the light”
We have heard these kinds of instructions on T.V. or internet; some might have access to these devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo Dot, Chromecast, etc. These are Home Automation devices. Let’s dig deep to know what are they and how they work?
We are living in the era where there is innovation in technology every minute. The demand of easy way of the life is the real talk of the day. Technology driven industries are focusing on the projects which facilitate their customers with comfortable and secure living. From smart cars to smartphones, inter-connected devices have changed the way we live, at least at a global level. Back here in home, though home and office automation is an old wired technology-based sector, with technological innovation, wireless solutions are constantly changing the environment by creating inexpensive and simpler solutions that reach out to a larger segment of society. The home automation industry in India is expected to cross Rs. 30,000 crore by 2020, according to industry estimates.
What is Home Automation
"Home automation" means automated and electronic monitoring of household features, operation and appliances. Simply put, this means you can easily monitor your home's utilities and amenities over the Internet to make life more comfortable and safe, and even spend less on household bills.
Home Automation is a network of hardware, communication, and electronic interfaces that function to connect regular devices over the Internet. Every device has sensors and is connected via Wi-Fi, so you can handle them from your smartphone regardless of your position on country. It helps you to switch the lights on, lock the front door or even turn the heat down, irrespective of where you are.
The terminology "Home Automation," "Connected Devices" and "Internet of Things" are frequently used colloquially, but they are distinct parts of the definition of Smart Home:
· Home Automation: This is where home electrical devices are connected to a central network that automates certain devices on the basis of user input. For example, you press a button and your curtains will go up, or you give a voice instruction, and your lights will turn on.
· Connected Devices: these are intelligent electrical devices, courtesy internet connection and sensors. Such devices recognize or are capable of anticipating what the user wants. This knowledge originates from user programming at first, but over time the system can learn and adapt to habits and communicate with its users.
· Internet of Things: IoT is the magic that transforms an integrated home into a smart home. IoT links everyday objects to a network with a variety of sensors, smarts and devices, allowing those objects to complete tasks and interact with each other, without user input.
You have a Smart Home when you combine home automation, connected devices and IoT. And a modern smart home can be operated easily through a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Elements of Smart Home System
A home automation system has three main elements: sensors, controllers, and actuators.
· Sensors can detect changes in daylight, temperature, or motion. Home automation systems will then (and more) tailor those settings as per your taste.
· Controllers refer to the devices used to send and receive information about the status of automated applications in your home — personal computers, tablets or smartphones.
· Actuators can be light switches, motors, or motorized valves which control a home automation system's actual mechanism, or feature. They are designed to be operated on by a remote controller command.
Home automation systems provide a range of functions and services. Some of the more common features these solutions provide include:
· Fire and carbon monoxide monitoring
· Remote lighting control
· Thermostat control
· Appliance control
· Home automation security systems and cameras
· Live video surveillance
· Alarm systems
· Real-time text and email alerts
· Digital personal assistant integration
· Keyless entry
· Voice-activated control
How to get started
Before the introduction of microprocessors and smartphones, home automation was an entire home installation project that involves electricians, professional installers and a monthly maintenance charge, which meant that it had been usually reserved for the wealthy. All you need now is a good Wi-Fi connection, a wireless router, a smartphone or laptop, and probably a central controller — known as a hub, which is a hardware unit that serves as the central point of the smart home network, and is capable of sensing, processing, and wireless communication. It combines all the different apps into one single smart home app which homeowners can control remotely. Examples of smart home hubs include Amazon Echo, Google Home, Insteon Hub Pro, Samsung SmartThings and Wink Hub, among others.
Identify what your primary objective is to automate your home. If it's protection, you'll want cameras and sensors; if it's smart lighting, you'll want LED bulbs linked to Wi-Fi; if it's comfort, there should be smart door locks and linked audio systems on your list. The promise of smart home automation is shifting away from full house incorporation and towards the bit-by-bit approach.
Newly constructed homes are often constructed with built smart home infrastructure. In comparison, older homes can be retrofitted with intelligent technologies. While many smart home systems still run on X10 or Insteon, the popularity of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi has increased.
In smart home systems, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming increasingly popular, allowing for home automation applications to adapt to their environment. For example, voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home contain virtual assistants that learn and configure the smart home according to the needs and habits of the occupants.
Home Automation: Pros & Cons
Savings: Connected devices such as learning thermostats, smart sprinklers, Wi-Fi-enabled lights, energy tracking outlets and water heater modules lower water and energy consumption.
Control: Many items inside the home can be operated remotely through apps on smartphones and tablets, from ovens and fridges to deadbolts and garage doors. This works in most situations even when you're away from home.
Convenience: The fact that your living room lights turn on when you arrive home and the door opens when you approach with a bag of grocery stores is maybe the greatest advantage of a smart home. Yet comfort doesn't equal luxury. Smart locks will allow you access to certain individuals at all times, so you don't have to stay at home or allow a key out.
Security: There are several simple, integrated safety solutions for smart homes that provide cost-effective alternatives to 24/7 controlled security systems. Wi-Fi cameras, connected motion sensors and smart smoke detectors can all be monitored from inside or outside the home through live video stream, email and text alerts.
Safety: Intelligent sensors that can track water leakage, humidity levels, carbon monoxide, motion, heat and any environmental issues imaginable help avoid incidents from turning into disasters, as they can interact directly with you wherever you are.
Senior Independence: Automatic audible notifications and voice-activated alert systems are just a couple of home automation applications that can help elderly lead long independent lives. Furthermore, Wi-Fi linked cameras with two-way communication will allow loved ones to keep an eye on the seniors while they are unable to monitor them physically.
Home automation systems struggled to become common, partially because of their technological character. The perceived complexity is a downside of smart homes; some people have trouble with technology or would give up on it at the first inconvenience.
To be fully efficient in home automation systems, devices need to be interoperable irrespective of who developed them, using the same protocol or, at least, complementary ones. There is no gold standard for home automation because it's such a nascent market yet. Standard partnerships, however, are working with suppliers and standards to ensure interoperability and the user experience is seamless.
Consumers are concerned with the protection of data that their smart home devices share. Although manufacturers of smart home devices and platforms that collect consumer data to better customize their products or offer consumers new and improved services, confidence and accountability are critical to manufacturers building confidence with users of their smart products.
Home automation has long been thought of as the unimaginably rich's exclusive domain. Less than a decade ago, urban myths about Bill Gates' automated mansion circulated. Yet, now, so much technology has been created that everyone can afford to automate their homes, customized to individual needs and, most importantly, individual budget.