Today, when so many devices, from mobile phones to watches, have become smart, why shouldn’t your home become smart as well? Home automation, or more commonly known as smart home, has been gaining widespread popularity for quite a while now. If you haven’t caught on to what home automation is, then this article will offer you the introduction you need to this new, modern style of living.
What is Home Automation (AKA Smart Homes)?
A home automation system can be defined as a system in which home electronic and electrical appliances and devices can be remotely monitored and controlled, through a network that could be wireless or wired.
Think of all the activities that take place and all the appliances that run in your household on an everyday basis. Whether it’s refrigerators and ovens in the kitchen or the lighting appliances and televisions in the rooms, you probably spend a big chunk of your time in controlling and managing common household devices like these daily. While these devices contribute greatly to keeping your house running smoothly, monitoring them manually every single day can require a lot of your time and effort.
This is where home automation proves to be the much needed solution. It is a technology based approach that allows automation for different kinds of regular household tasks. The approach leverages advanced software and hardware technologies to efficiently manage and control a variety of household equipment like doorbells, all types of lighting devices, cooling as well as heating appliances, security cameras, and many more. Basically, nearly all electronic and electrical appliances can be automated in home automation.
What is the Process Behind Making a Home Smart?
If you are intrigued by the thought that much of the appliances in your home can be automated, then you would probably want to know what is the process that enables a home to become smart.
There are various components involved in a home automation system, which as mentioned before, include hardware as well as software. The key constituents of a home automation system are controllers, sensors, and actuators. Let’s understand what role each of these constituents plays in making home automation possible.
A controller is the device interface using which you perform all the control-related actions. This controller could be a phone, computer, tablet, laptop, touch pad, etc. It is through controller that you can keep an eye on the current status of all the appliances that are automated in your home. These controllers, that are used by the users, are in turn connected to a programmable logic controller.
A sensor is responsible for detecting important environment related data, like temperature, light, motion. The information that the sensor gathers from its environment is sent to the programmable logic controllers, and is critical in determining what actuators need to do. Some of the most popular sensors that can be used within homes are voice sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, etc.
An actuator is the device which takes care of the actual mechanisms of controlling the household appliances. Examples of an actuator include motors, light switches, valves, etc. The actuators are programmed in such a way that they can intercept and act on the commands send to them remotely by the controller.
In a wire-based home automation system, there will be a primary programmable logic controller with which all the appliances are linked via a cable for communication. The primary programmable logic controller would be connected to the controller device that will be accessible to the user (phone, touch pad, computer, etc).
In a wireless home automation system, all of the remote controlling of the home appliances will be accomplished with the help of wireless technologies.
What’s the Connection Between Home Automation and Internet of Things?
There’s a deep connection between Internet of Things (IOT) and home automation. IOT, which is the interconnection of diverse physical objects over the Internet, can be applied in the case of home automation as well, thus making smart homes even smarter. When the appliances in the home are networked with each other via the Internet, the home automation system becomes an implementation of IOT. An Internet-enabled home automation system allows you to be in control over your home devices no matter where you are, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. Moreover, such a system will also enable sharing of essential data between the home devices for greater productivity.
What are the Benefits of Having a Smart Home?
Now that you have an understanding of what smart homes are, it’s also important for you to know why turning your home into a smart home can be incredibly beneficial:
Convenience is naturally one of the most evident advantages of having a smart home. You have centralized control over all the appliances in your home at your fingertips. Moreover, you have this control even when you are away from your home.
Efficient use of energy and thus cost savings is another great benefit that you get out of smart homes. Suppose you forget to turn the AC off before leaving your home. Letting the AC run till the time you get back home is not only going to be a useless expenditure of energy, but it’s also going to make your electricity bill heftier. But when you have a smart home, you can easily turn the AC off remotely even after you’ve left home, thus saving electricity and money both. This is just one example of how smart homes can be efficient in their energy utilization. You could also control the lighting and temperature of the house in a way that prevents energy wastage.
Security is also a notable benefit of smart homes. You can rest assured about the safety and security of your home with the help of a number of smart home features like automated door locking systems and motion sensors. Even when you are not at home, you wouldn’t have to worry about what’s going on back there.