Home automation or also known as domotics is a building automation for home. Automation means that some aspect of the building, or in this respect the house can be controlled remotely or put on an automated schedule to perform some specific tasks. This scheduling includes, for example, turning on lights or a sprinkler at a certain time each day. It can also be event triggered like switching on all lights when a security sensor has been tripped.
Any ‘smart’ devices or appliances —devices that can be automated— can be a part of a home automation system. Appliances without ‘smart’ capabilities can also be managed through smart plugs or also known as smart switches.
Home automation system which is connected to the internet gives you access to control devices from anywhere in the world. A home that employs home automation is known as a smart home or a smart house.
The Development of Home Automation
Building automation was where it all started. Building automation could be found in large commercial buildings and expensive houses. Typically involves lighting, heating, and cooling systems, building automation rarely provided more than basic control, monitoring, and scheduling functions and was accessible only from specific control points within the building itself. Then, fairly recently, the technology crosses to public residences offering solutions which are become more affordable each year.
Home automation is a step toward the “Internet of Things”, in which everything has an assigned IP and can be monitored and accessed remotely. This makes the devices ‘smarter’. And the most obvious benefits of this ‘smarter’ revolution is that devices and appliances can be connected to local area network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. This opens up to more applications possibilities, for example in security and surveillance. You can now check on your home from your office at any time.
One of the cutting-edge characteristics of home automation is the ability to remotely monitor and access the device. With the rise of smartphones technologies, we can now truly connect our home networks while we’re away which hasn’t been possible years back with a limited one-way remote monitoring.
Why Remote Monitoring?
Through remote monitoring, a wealth of information about your home can be acquired. The current status of your devices and its history, even you can monitor your electricity consumption in real-time. You can check on your security status, whether the lights are on, or doors are locked as they’re supposed to be. You can even pull up real-time video feeds of any particular security cameras that you have installed. Through this technology, your home is not far even when you’re abroad on vacation.
And the good things don’t stop there. You can have your devices sent you alerts or notification as to when a particular event was triggered. For example of a break in when your motion sensors have been triggered. You could then go online to check what is happening and if there is a legitimate break-in in progress you can call the police to respond to that immediately. Or perhaps you’re living in a flood area, there are sensors that can be placed to detect if water has reached a certain level and trigger an alarm for you to take necessary actions.
The best hands-on controls come in when you can take control of your home simply from the convenience of your smartphone’s app. In addition to arming or disarming your security sensors, you can schedule or reschedule your devices, to lock unlock doors, reset thermostat, adjust the lights, switch on the sprinkler all from your phone anywhere from around the world. You can expect things are going to get much more convenient and fun as smart devices manufacturers are creating more and more ‘smarter’ devices all the time.
When Smart becomes Smarter
Ideally, anything that can be connected to a network can be automated and controlled remotely.
In its most basic application, home automation simply connects simple binary devices. These include “on and off” devices like power outlet, lights and electronic locks and also security devices like sensors which only have two states; open and close.
Only when devices can be connected to the internet and able to be controlled is when home automation becomes truly “smart”. In a classing building automation system, a dedicated computer needs to be set up to be the center of all this automated scheduling and controlling. Nowadays many systems only require a hub or a control panel to put all devices on checked. Apps are moved to the cloud where you can access from anywhere.
But one major setback to all these smart home revolutions is that each manufacturer has their own ideas of how a smart home should operate. These include how they are supposed to be governed and accessed. Thus creating a conflicting set of instructions for different devices. You might be having a smart tv, smart refrigerators, smart bulbs, smart coffee maker and other smart things, but many do not work with other than the platform they’re built on.
In the near future, all smart home devices may be expected to be standardized to let us truly take advantage of all of these additional possibilities. For now, you will have to do a little research on your own to find the best system which covers the widest array of smart devices.
Smart Home and Energy Efficiency
Energy saving is one clear advantage of home automation.
For example, a thermostat will govern the use of your smart home energy consumption by adjusting the temperature to a set limit. With more smart devices like sensors which can detect the presence of a person, would further take the energy efficiency to great savings by only switching on air conditioners on when there is a person in the room.
At the most basic level, you can even manually control your energy, by first knowing your electric consumption through smart meters that can give you real-time energy readings. Then you can identify areas in which you can improve and to set it on schedule or manually off things that contribute to energy wastage. A basic smart home package will let you schedule basic “on or off” devices. Use this scheduling to set all your lights, and power outlets (smart plugs/switches), coffee machine, air conditioning off as when you leave your home for work and turn all them back on at a specific time as you return from work. This by itself will show you significant changes in your home energy usage.
It’s an interesting time to be investing in home automation. As you can see, the possibilities are expanding all the time. There are more “smart” products now then it was years before. And a great thing is it all becoming more affordable to us as the competition grows.
Not just that, home automation brings a lot of benefits. As we can see in energy efficiency, it can also give us more peace of mind knowing that our home is just a tap away in our smartphones.
We at Maevi invite you to explore our range of products for your home automation needs. Backed by TNB, we’re committed to giving you the best experience of home automation through our highly researched products and apps.