Following the trends of modern living, many activities are automated; your light could turn on when you are nearby, you could wake up to discover that your coffee maker brewed an early morning shot while you were asleep, and your security system could disarm when you are almost in your apartment.
These features are convenient and could save energy, thereby, reducing the cost of utility bills. However, the home automation concept is relatively new, and some people could be overwhelmed at the thought of it. Hence, we will break down what the technology is and the ways you could benefit from it.
What’s Home Automation?
It is an automated control of smart home devices in an apartment. They have internet connectivity that makes it possible for you to control them remotely. With automation, you can link them to trigger each other such that you won’t have to manually control them through a voice assistant or an app.
For instance, you can program your lights to turn off at the time you usually go to bed. You can also set your thermostat to turn on your A/C system 30 minutes before you get back from work. That way, you won’t have to face a stuffy apartment.
Furthermore, this automation promises a convenient life and could help you save money on electricity bills, heating, and cooling. It could also ensure your safety when you use the Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as security cameras.
IoT is a term that is commonly used to describe devices that would not normally have internet connectivity. An example of this is a smart bulb that can be turned on/off through an app.
It is important to note that all automated devices in your apartment are Internet of Things devices, which you can automate to trigger each other.
Therefore, while IoT describes the devices, home automation refers to the things you could do with them to ensure that life is a bit easier.
You may visit https://www.iot-now.com/2020/06/10/98753-iot-home-automation-future-holds/ to read more about IoT.
How it Works
The devices form a network that is internet-connected via several communication protocols like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee. Through the electronic interfaces, you can remotely manage the devices using any voice assistant such as an app, Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa.
Furthermore, most IoT devices possess sensors that can monitor variations in light, motion, and temperature.
The device will use the information gathered from its surroundings to operate.
If you want to make any physical change to any device, you could trigger the actuators which are physical mechanisms such as motors, light switches, or motorized valves that allow you to remotely control them.
The automation operates on 3 levels, which are:
This means that you can use an app to remotely check on the device. For instance, you can view your real-time feed from your security camera.
You can remotely control the devices like panning the security camera in order to have a wider view of the living space.
This involves setting up your devices to activate or set off each other. For instance, your smart siren can go off when the security camera senses motion.
Components of a Home Automation Unit
Home automation is not one technology alone; it is a combination of various technologies to form a coherent system.
Generally, the components are divided into 2 categories: optional and necessary.
- Smart lighting
- Streaming services
- Entertainment appliances
- Internet connectivity
- Control systems
- Smart wiring
You can think of control systems and smart wiring as the skeletal structure of home automation. Without them, there will be no automated unit. Hence, lighting products, entertainment devices, and streaming services are placed on the skeletal structure to form the unit.
Who Needs Home Automation?
Many people need it for different purposes including:
- Those who want to enjoy a more convenient home for task simplicity, security, or enhancement of entertainment experience.
- People with disabilities need it to gain extra independence. You may want to read this article on useful smart home devices for people with disabilities.
- The elderly prefer to retain independence in old age.
As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Automating your home cannot happen in one day.
It would be better to start small, and then set up a full system gradually. With several IoT devices springing up every day, you cannot afford to limit yourself.