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Home Automation Why? And How ?

What is Home Automation?

With advancement of Automation technology, life is getting simpler and easier in all aspects. In today’s world Automatic systems are being preferred over manual system. With the rapid increase in the number of users of internet over the past decade has made Internet a part and parcel of life, and IoT is the latest and emerging internet technology. Internet of things is a growing network of everyday object-from industrial M2M that can share information and complete tasks while you are busy with other activities. Wireless Home Automation system usingIoT is a system that uses computers or mobile devices to control basic home functions and features automatically through internet from anywhere around the world, an automated home is sometimes called a smart home. It is meant to save the electric power and human energy. 

A key feature in home automation is the ability to do tasks automatically and monitor or change status remotely. Common tasks include turning off lights when no one is in the room, locking doors via smartphone, thermostats that sense and memorize temperature settings, and appliances that help you cook to optimum recipe settings. Automating your home can be done in two primary ways, or in any combination of DIY (Do-it-yourself) or whole house system setups.

Home Automation Benefits:

There are many benefits to automating your home. Give yourself peace of mind with improved security. Save time by using all-in-one access and controlling daily tasks with the touch of a button. Save money and help the environment by reducing wasted electricity, gas, and water.

How It Works and What we can do?

Home automation can be achieved by automating individual items in your home, or a full system of connected devices. The process is based on the products you choose and the protocols they run on. Discover different plug-and-play devices, or choose a comprehensive receiver and system.

A full home automation system usually consists of devices in your home that communicate with a central remote controller. The number of devices can vary, along with the degree of control and the remote interface. Here’s a basic breakdown of the important components in any home automation system. 

So here is a short and simple list of what home automation can do.

  • Control your air conditioning and heating
  • Access video cameras inside and outside your house
  • Control your home theater system
  • Control your lights
  • Pipe music, your TV’s audio or your voice into different rooms
  • Interface with your home’s security system
  • Turn on and off any appliance
  • Open doors, windows, blinds, curtains, and other motorized entry/exit components, like your garage door

..and you can do this all…

  • From your phone
  • From a computer
  • From touchscreen panels or fancy light switches or iPads
  • From outside your house
  • Automatically, based on a schedule
  • Automatically, based on other “events” that happen, like doors opening, or motion sensors being set off
  • One at a time, or all together

Protocols & Platforms

Each devices works with a protocol. Similar to the old PC vs Mac setup, your choice of protocol will determine which products you can use in your system. Some of the more common protocols include:

Bluetooth LE

Though it’s not typically used for large system integrations, this is common for running a few devices from a computer or mobile device, and built into most smartphones.

WiFi

Most home automation devices operate on your wireless internet signal, and sometimes plug into your wireless router.

ZigBee and Z-Wave are both common wireless protocols which use a “mesh network” concept to pass signals between devices in a decentralized manner. Both of these protocols are more popular choices for newer systems. 

Z-Wave operates in the 900MHz band instead of the 2.4GHz band those protocols use. The Alliance claims 900MHz provides superior performance due to less interference at the lower frequency, as well as a longer wavelength that more easily penetrates walls and objects.

Plug-and-Play Devices

The easiest way to set up home automation is to start with WiFi or Z-wave friendly wireless technology. Many appliances and home gadgets are pre-built for wireless compatibility. For those items that don’t come this way from the manufacturer, try a powerstrip like the Aeotec Smart Strip. Similar to the normal power strips found in most homes, this adds the additional feature of remote operating controls via wireless Z-wave technology.

Receivers and Full Systems

Moving beyond plug-and-play, smart home automation is based around a receiver, or hub. The hubs act as a central point to coordinate the wireless signals, which are then linked towards your computer or mobile device for control and monitoring.

Mobile Apps

Whether using a whole house protocol or a basic automated system or two, you will want a user friendly app to control things the way you like. Decide which information is most important to you, and use a compatible system.

We Can Do …….

1.     Security Automation

Security might be one of the best known uses for home automation, but technology has gone far beyond motion detectors and cameras. Provide all-around safety for your family with automated exterior and garage door locks. Get help right away with smart detectors for smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide.

Whole House Security Systems

Whole house security systems allow you to monitor everything in your environment, even when you’re away from home. Basic options come with DIY kits that link to your smartphone or tablet, while more inclusive packages may be connected to a security monitoring agency.

Motion Detectors

Motion detectors are an essential part of a whole house security setup. Motion detectors may often be involved in indoor automated lighting through occupancy detection and outdoor motion lights on the grounds and entry. Motion detection technology is also used for automated alarm systems.

Security Cameras

Automated cameras operate on much the same principles as motion alarms. Motion activated cameras are commonly used in businesses for loss prevention, to capture photos of elusive wildlife, in nanny-cam style devices, and even to catch speeding motorists on the road. The majority of home automated cameras are used to capture motion and create a record, as opposed to motion detected alarms with are designed to create an alert for help

Additional automated camera options are often used to monitor different aspects of the home. Automated IP cameras setups can be placed throughout the house to connect to your computer or tablet and allow access via smartphone.

Doors

Doors & Locks

The front door (or in some cases the back) are the main portals into your home. As such, remember to lock the door is an important part of security. For those of us who are a little forgetful, figuring out how to unlock things can also be a big deal. For this reason, locking automation is one of the biggest and best security features out there. 

Additional options include retrofitting existing locks. This great kickstarter got our attention for it’s ability to fit over your existing deadbolt. Lockitron combines the old lock with new lock-app technology. Well known hardware industry names include Schlage’s Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with anti-tampering and alarm built-in. Kwikset offers a Smartcode Deadbolt partnered with Home Connect Technology featuring Zigbee to communicate with other devices in your home and creates email and text messages too.

Garage Doors & Gates

Garage doors are more complicated than the other doors in your house. For that reason, monitoring and automating these devices is a little different too. Many home automation packages will include a garage door feature, like Vivint’s Tilt Sensor

This sensor sends you messages if the garage door is left open or is active for an unusual amount of time. Standalone systems like LiftMaster are work to both monitor and manage your entry system. Working with compatible garage door technology, the sensors allow you to communicate via smartphone to open and close your entries as you like.

Smoke, Fire, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

At first, automating a ceiling or wall detector may not make much sense, since most of us rarely interact with these devices in the first place. While automated detectors won’t provide much day to day amusement, the uses can be invaluable while you are out of the house. Working like a standard detector, these devices emit a piercing alarm. 

Unlike traditional detectors, these items will send you a text or email alert at the same time as the alarms sounds. This allows you to call the fire department, rush home, and use your automated cameras to check on any people or pets that may be in danger. Another safety sensor includes wireless flood sensors like the Everspring z-wave model, which provides similar alerts, but for water and flooding. Whole house systems can also send alerts to qualified monitoring agencies and response units.

2.     Landscaping Automation

Automated systems can control more than just an indoor environment. By adding automation to your outdoors you can reduce maintenance costs, help the environment by reducing water and electricity waste, improve security, and add some innovative looks. Systems are available to help with landscaping and irrigation, lighting, and pool and spas.

Irrigation

Mother Nature rarely cooperates. Whether this be too little rain in a heat wave or sudden frost from a cold snap, the weather is not something you can control. That’s why automated irrigation systems make sense. 

Automated sprinkler controls (like this one from Rachio) let you set a watering schedule and forget it. With the associated smartphone app you can monitor your status or quickly stop and start a cycle. It’s an easy way to avoid leaving the sprinkler on during a thunderstorm or while you’re at work. The Eve irrigation system adds features like moisture and temperature sensing spikes to distribute proper irrigation across different zones. The correct installation is vital to make sure the system is most effective.

Pool & Spa

Swimming pools and home spas involve many working pieces. Beyond an area of water, these systems incorporate filtration, heat, sanitizing, and lights. Some areas will have special or custom features that need additional attention. The good news is that almost all of these features can be automated with the right systems. 

Products like the Pentair Screenlogic2 Interface which can remotely monitor pool controls including pH and ORP levels from a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Zodiac’s iAqualink 2.0 boasts 24/7 global control including pumps, lights, and even spillovers. It can also control multiple pools from a single app.

Motion Lights

Basic motion lights have been around for a long time. Many of you are familiar with the old fashioned sensors that light up whenever the wind blows. Modern lights have gotten a whole lot smarter. Indoor motion lights can be programmed to turn on when people are in the room or indoor rooms become too dark. Click here to read more on indoor lighting and climate control. Outdoor motion lights are both convenient for homeowners, and an important part of home safety.

Decorative Features and Seasonal Lighting

In an effort to customize a home and make it unique, many of us enjoy decorative features like fountains, colored lights, creative landscaping, or seasonal decor. There is rarely a mass produced option to fit each and every decorative choice, which is why we enjoy these creative plug-ins. Basic DIY options like the INSTEON Outdoor On/Off outlet come with outdoor rated and weather resistant housings that can remotely operate in a large range of temperatures. The outlet device is commonly used on fountains and decorative lights.

3.    Appliance Automation

Appliances offer one of the greatest selections for home automation. Large appliances such as smart stoves or refrigerators can help connect your kitchen. Keep things clean with automated floor cleaners, washers, and dryers. Don’t forget the bathroom with an automated tub and spa setup, plus so much more.

Kitchen Automation

Connected Kitchen

Whirlpool began by offering the automated, connected cooktop and has been working to expand into an entire smart kitchen. As a fully integrated system, the refrigerator can track groceries and suggest recipes based on upcoming expiration dates. The connected cooktop allows for easy food management, plus integrated chat and social features to share the experience with others far away. Time management is made easy with devices that tell when food is cooked or burning too. If an entire kitchen is a little too much for your home, try these ala carte options to experience as few or as many automated appliances as you want.

Coffee Makers

Smart coffee makers may be the most welcome idea in many morning routines. We’ve moved beyond the giant coffee pot with a timer. Now you can choose via smartphone to create a custom macchiato of differing strength, size, and flavor – all depending on your mood. Check out innovations like Scanomat for the cutting edge.

Faucets and Water

Water purification rises in importance as a health-conscious member of society. Filtering out lead and other particulates seems like a no-brainer. Add the environmental benefits of reduced waste from plastic bottles too. The latest designs in purified water include smart faucets, cloud-based particulate monitoring, and a keen sense of fashion (check out Zuvo on IndieGogo.)

Refrigerators

So what exactly is an automated refrigerator? Think of a wi-fi enabled food storage device with a handy touchscreen. The idea is that you can keep track of shopping lists and look up recipes instantly. For the advanced food organizer, you can even keep track of expiration dates. No matter what lists you choose, these automated devices are designed to sync to your smartphone or tablet. An example is how Samsung has designed their new series to sync to Evernote. Also handy for a late night snack-and-Facebook session.

Cooking

Not everyone is blessed with intuitive saute skills. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to turn off the oven. For reasons like this and more, smart cooking appliances are growing in popularity. Allowing the user to download instructions via Wi-Fi, these cooking helpers get the recipe right the first time.

Grill

If you want to take the cooking out of the kitchen, try this new grill automating device. Using a single, affordable probe that connects to the grill you can manage cooking from your smart phone. The iGrillmini is a smart thermometer using Smart LED technology to alert your iPhone when your food is cooked and ready.

Cleaning Automation

Floor Cleaners

Following the designs of the ever popular Roomba, semi-autonomous floor cleaning designs continue to innovate. Now there are multiple options available including items like hardwood and tile floor cleaners, and of course – smartphone integrated, Wi-Fi and BlueTooth enabled options to begin the chores while you are away from home.

Washers & Dryers

Starting out small with laundromats that accepted cards instead of coins, smart-laundry technology has continued to evolve. Wi-Fi washing machines and dryers can let you know the status of your clothes cycle straight from your smartphone. Adjust settings remotely like length of wash and temperature too. Unfortunately, there is still no way to switch loads to the dryer while not at home.

Bathroom Automation

Tub & Spa

How many people have started a bath, and then forgotten the faucet was running? What about running a tub full of water that’s too hot or too cold to jump in? These common problems are solved with long-awaited innovations in smart-tub technology. With products like the Smart Hydro from iHouse, you can remotely set temperature and fill commands from your convenient tablet. (There is also an option to auto-set your own bath essence, but more on that later.) One of the best features is the self-cleaning option. With a touch of the button, you can do the housework without being home. Also check out many of the offerings in automated spas and showers.

Pet Care Automation

Pet Doors

Pet doors let your companion in, but can also provide access to your neighbor’s cat or other local wildlife. Without having to worry about bulky collar sensors, program your door to recognize your cat via it’s microchip with the Sure Flap cat door.

Food and Water

Most pets are always looking for their next meal or treat. Many owners have fallen for puppy dog eyes and not realized that a housemate had already given the dog dinner before you got home. Sometimes its simply a matter of a furred companion who likes to overeat. Use automated feeders to control and monitor feedings for better diet control. Products like Petnet can automate schedules and offering food insights in times, portion, and more. 

Pawport offers remote treat dispensing with two-way audio so you can communicate from afar. Nibbles works in much the same way, but offers built in camera options so you can watch your animal in action.

If you want to take things up a notch, try CleverPet. Going beyond simple treat dispensing, this device can entertain and train your pet by rewarding good behavior. The pet training and treat system automatically teaches your dog new tricks through a light-and-button system. The interactive option keeps your pet amused while you are away.

GPS

A runaway pet is every owner’s worst nightmare. The outside world is rarely a friendly place for an unsupervised animal, which is why GPS location devices are such a great idea. A GPS device on your animal’s collar can alert you via cell phone or email if your pet strays beyond the household borders. The Spotlight for dogs includes a Rescue button that allows a found pet to be connected with owners faster.

4.     Home Entertainment Automation

Home automation is a fantastic way to save money, help the environment, and increase your home safety, but it’s also something else – fun. Automated systems in your home can provide hours of entertainment by integrating your computer system and gadgets, creating a home theater experience, and setting your own custom music system. Here are some of our favorite uses of automation for entertainment.

Computer Systems

Your personal computer is a great command system for your home automation. Allowing you to view more in-depth detail than just setting up a smartphone, you can create customized whole house schemes. For more on home automation software and setup

Home Theater

Audio/Video

If you want to go all out, you can set up moving projector screens, surround sound, high end projectors and custom lighting. If you do, automate the entire experience with a system like the Elan automated home theatre. In addition to the options above, the system is described as having 2-way control of your receiver and sound system and can even control the curtains with one touch.

If one touch is still too labor intensive, have no fear. Whether you enjoy a high end system or a simple setup, you can hack your home and control your devices through your Android.

Lighting

Many automated home theatre systems are also designed for lighting control. Set up as many rooms and zones as you want. You can create a unique home theatre experience with optimal viewing of the screen, while still keeping some safety lighting in the background for those rushed trips to the restroom. Use your computer and wifi to set up and all-inclusive remote control, like the Monster Home Theater and Lighting Controller.

Television-Based Automation

The next wave in home entertainment automation is definitely the integration of the TV with streaming devices. Already allowing control of your television through mobile phone or tablet, these streaming televisions integrate the internet experience with standard viewing. Popular devices include the Apple TVGoogle ChromecastAmazon Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming TV. While already advanced and upcoming technology, it looks like these options are just going to keep expanding. This app-capable technology is rumored to be the next new venue in home automation, allowing integration through the tv instead of being limited to your home PC.

Music

Many of the systems mentioned above include music or sound options. Sometimes however, you want to listen to music instead of the television. Maybe you want some relaxing tunes while taking a bath, or some festive music while enjoying a holiday dinner. For options like these, try an interconnected music system with speakers in different areas of the house.

Utilize your smartphone or computer to stream popular services like Pandoraor iHeartRadio with simple devices like Musaic. Designed to stream beyond the capabilities of a Bluetooth speaker, this wifi enabled system was created specifically to compliment smarthomes. Music options are common parts of most home automation packages, making it difficult to recommend specific items.

5.     Climate Control

Comfort is key with an automated climate control system. Go beyond hot and cool with auto-sensing humidity and light detection. Creative climate solutions help keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. Set the mood and atmosphere with customizable smart-home solutions like automated temperature control, occupancy-sensing lighting, and smart window coverings.

Options are available to help you save no matter whether you have an advanced and up-to-date HVAC system or a single apartment window.

Thermostats

Thermostats are a simple and easy way to control home temperatures. Whether the unit you use works best for room-by-room or the whole house – just set the temperature and wait for the heating or cooling to kick in. As thermostats have advanced, we’ve seen dials turn into digital devices, and now into smart Wi-Fi enabled systems. In addition to easy control from your smartphone or tablet, the newest devices employ learning technology for the highest levels of comfort and energy savings. Combined motion sense technology in products like Nest take the guess work away from turning down your system while you’re away with features like Auto-Away and self-programming setups.

Room by Room Cooling

Air conditioning can be one of the most costly items on a summer heating bill, especially for those in warmer climates. Since not every house is able to use or install central heating and cooling setups, single window air conditioners can be a welcome lifeline.

The WiFi connected setup integrates with learning technology to learn your habits and keep your home at the optimum temperature. A unique feature with this item is how it syncs with your phone’s GPS. The location feature is designed to lower your power use when you’re gone, yet anticipate and start cooling as you get closer to home.

Window Shades

A complete home environment includes window coverings. Used to create privacy and to lessen effects of the elements, window coverings like shades help create your indoor climate. Lower utility bills by automatically blocking out sun and avoiding the greenhouse effect during the day, or add an extra layer of insulation during a cold spell.

Options like the Crestron shades with Quiet Motor Technology provide one-touch automation with long lasting motor technologies. Additionally, automatic shades are a great security option for vacations.

Indoor Lighting Control

Lighting controls are one of the most frequently automated systems. Many major retailers can integrate these setups as part of a whole home automation. DIY kits are also common and come in easy plug-and-play setups.

No matter what the system, the most important point about automating your lights is the control system. Lights can be controlled remotely from a handheld device, so you never have to worry about leaving the lights on.

For great energy savings, look at photosensors and motion sensors. Photosensors will control your lighting based on the ambient lighting coming from the sun. Motion sensors help detect occupancy and whether or not a person is using the room, and will turn off lights if the area is empty. Additionally, motion sensors are great for security as well.

Conclusion

The home automation using Internet of Things has been experimentally proven to work satisfactorily by connecting simple appliances to it and the appliances were successfully controlled remotely through internet. The designed system not only monitors the sensor data, like temperature, gas, light, motion sensors, but also actuates a process according to the requirement, for example switching on the light when it gets dark. It also stores the sensor parameters in the cloud in a timely manner. This will help the user to analyze the condition of various parameters in the home anytime anywhere.

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