Smart Homes and home automations are quickly becoming the next big thing, advertised as being able to “Put your home in your fingertips”. These advances can bring you extra security and more peace of mind that your home or business is safe while you are away.
Almost everything in your home can be automatically controlled.
By attaching devices to your LED lightbulbs and wall switches you can remotely turn your lights on and off and even adjust dimmer settings.
Some other advantages of automating your lighting:
– Set schedules to automatically turn lights on and off.
– Set schedules to automatically trigger lights with motion, doors and more.
It is more than just lighting which can be operated from your smart device:
Thermostats – adjust heating
Appliances – remote control and measure electricity usage.
Fountains and outdoor fixtures – sunrise and sunset light timers.
Sprinklers – add rain and weather detection into schedule.
Doors and windows – open and close sensors of all types, easy to monitor doors – alert notification and automate lighting.
Water leaks – alert from leak sensors give you time to prevent water damage and automatically shut off the water mains in the event of a leak.
Smoke and carbon monoxide sensors – instant alerts to device
WiFi cameras – view live images of your home (Keybury currently provide this option – read more!)
Ceiling fans – turn on to circulate air.
Ventilation systems – turn off to prevent the spread of smoke in the event of a fire.
Notify you – If, for instance, the oven was left on you will be alerted and be able to remotely turn if off.
The list is almost endless with devices which you can attach to any plug and remotely operate. For example, attach a device to the plug of your coffee maker to have it turn on at the time you wake up, or to the plug of your hair straighteners and never worry about leaving them switched on again!
Speakers can even play noise as if you are home and notice if someone is trying to tamper with the system.
There are a growing number of companies developing software and apps to further the automation of appliances in the home. Many of these companies are independent new inventors currently looking for crowd funding to bring their products to the market.
“Smarthings” are able to talk to each other and create a flow of information from device to device.
For example, when a door is left open, the heating or air conditioning will adjust so you aren’t wasting energy.
Creating apps to control many elements of your home through one user interface are also popular, with “Ninja Blocks” helping you to create a tailored DIY app for your home’s requirements.
From looking at the software being developed, I am most impressed and interested in the intelligence some of the software is capable of.
There are some apps through which you can design home ‘scenarios’ pre programmed for ease. Rules can be triggered by the phone’s proximity, motion sensors or based on a time of day as well as be operated by multiple devices.
Facial and voice recognition can also identify when people are still at home even if the control phone leaves the proximity, and identify when the homeowner returns, deactivating the alarms without needing to enter a code.
These systems also waive the worried of people thinking they are being spied on by their security systems, as the technology won’t monitor you and your family while you are in your home, but will recognise when you leave and increase its scanning and security. The systems are also pet friendly so will recognise your pet when left in the home alone and not activate unless an unknown person enters.
This advanced automation security does the hard work so you don’t have to constantly monitor a camera stream or check security settings. If anything unusual happens while you are out, the device lets you know. Back up battery supply keeps the system going through powercuts. WiFi and 3G also means there are not lots of cables needed.
The self-learning smart device recognises regular commands and will perform these automatically.
As more people start using this technology the prices will drop and become more widely available. Soon we will all have automated homes of the future, bringing our home appliances, security, lighting, heating, safety, comfort and entertainment together for complex technology with ease of use.