Most often when we go out from the home, some thoughts wander in the back of the mind, such as did I turn off the geyser? Did I turn the water pump off? or what kids doing at home? and so on. And we usually worry about our home’s security. A Smart Home can make you free, worrying about your home’s security. In the article, you will know, what is Smart Home? Besides, you will find everything about Smart Home and Home Automation- such as its history, benefits, types, categories, challenges and more.
What is a Smart Home?
With a Smart Home, you can control all the home things on the screen of your smartphone or tablet. All you need simply connect the devices or appliances to the Smart Home network
Once interconnecting your home gadgets using Smart Home devices, and with the internet, you can manage all them even though your voice, remote control or smartphone. Your home’s internet has an essential role to interconnecting all your home devices, that turns it to a Smart Home.
Different apps are available to perform their distinct functions, such as, change the lighting conditions, rotate the wi-fi camera, play music on your soundbar and many more for your Smart House.
Today, technology has been grown to the extreme, and we now have solutions for almost all, considering the Smart Home.
The Smart Home concept was initially used for rich and tech-savvy people. But nowadays it has been widely spread and, used by common people. That’s all because of technology reform and developers who made this potentially wider to reach to the common man.
Today, the Smart Home is a trend, in the focus of many start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Similarly, the bigger and established home automation companies are also developing new Smart Home solutions.
All could become possible having smartphone, tablet, and laptops, that now have been reached to the deep mass population. Most importantly, the Internet connection is everywhere now, which configures controls and commands the intelligent home system. Also, there is a big role in the ‘Internet of Things‘ in making home intelligent.
‘Internet of Things’ (IoT)
‘Internet of Things’, The term we often listen these days. It represents devices or the products, that are interlinked through wireless networks and can identify each other, making an intelligent home. in the kind of products, revolutions are happening day by day.
Successively, the companies are working hard in the field of home automation and developing new Smart Home equipment. And making them better than previous, every time. Electronics products at your home, are the best example of this technology’s revolution.
History of Smart Home Technology
There is a long history of home automation. For many years, technology came and disappeared. Even in the home automation field, there were many revolutions.
The home automation devices, we are using nowadays is a result of many reforms into the intelligent home system. For most of us, It’s just like watching a movie without knowing how they made, or what happened behind the scene!
The initial home automation started as labor-saving machines. With the introduction of electricity self-driven appliances such as washing machines, electric water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, and alike equipment came to the picture.
The first general-purpose home automation network technology was developed in 1975, The X10 was a communication protocol for electronic devices that were using electric power transmission signaling to control devices. Earlier, the X10 products were able to command a lamp and an appliance. Later they have included the wall switch module and a timer. Home Automation Generations:
- First, the wireless technology with a proxy server
- Second, Artificial intelligence that controls devices
- Third, the newly developed robots can interact with human
The first generation home automation systems were using wireless technology with the help of proxy servers. The ZigBee is in one of the names automating the home of the generation and still there.
The second generation of the AI-controlled voice assistants, such as Amazon Echo that is backed by Amazon Alexa as most of us already knew about this. Google is also developing its new AI-controlled Smart Home enablers such as Google home.
Setting up a Smart Home
Almost all appliances or devices at your home, such as air conditioners, lights, doors or your security system can be connected to the internet. And be wirelessly controlled through your smart speaker, smartphone or tablet. There are many distinct accessories and apps, support Smart Home technology.
What is Voice Assistant?
A virtual voice assistant is a software that is programmed for voice recognition. The assistant uses a machine learning process to provide all required information for everyday tasks. Along with this, it also controls Smart Home products and smart devices, to make them convenient to use.
Most considered AI-controlled assistants are:
You can choose any one of them as per your priorities.
What is Amazon Alexa?
Alexa controlled Amazon Echo, is quite easy to start a Smart Home. You can easily set-up Alexa products, and can plug them anywhere you required. At the same time, the products are comparatively cheaper and much affordable. For example, the Echo Dot is available at $50.
Amazon Alexa has 15000+ skills, and compatibility for other smart devices brands. That’s the reason, Alexa backed speakers are most widely supporting Smart Home hub.
- Know-How to set up Amazon Echo
What is Google Assistant?
The Google Assistant developed by Google is available on mobile and smart speakers. Google is continuously developing new AI products with newer versions of Android. Google Home speaker is available at the costs of $129.
Considering AI, Google assistant is slightly better than Alexa and Siri due to its powerful back-end using Google search. With Google search, you will get answers to a wide verity of questions, also in the most corrected form.
What is Apple SIRI?
The assistant, developed by Apple, uses voice commands and a language interface to answer your questions. The Siri performs various activities by accepting requests through the Internet.
Apple is majorly focused on security. That’s why Siri always works directly with your home devices. And it also ensures security and encryption while the data transfers between the devices. Its configuration is also simple with Smart Home devices. The Apples HomePod is available at the costing of $349.
Categories of Smart Home devices
Namely, we can categories the devices into three, the basis of their use:
First, security is the most important feature that’s considered by most of the people. The Smart Home technology makes your home more secure, so that, you can relax while going out. Enabling an app-based door lock system, or the surveillance camera, you can better secure your house. Thankfully, there are numbers of smart devices available in the market, make you feel safer after implementing them.
Second, the utility and ease of operating home gadgets and appliances is another big reason to prefer home automation. Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and SIRI are the major machine learning assistants, connects with your home devices, and integrate with them, and enable you to use the devices with comfort. All could be possible through your voice, smartphone or remote. There are plenty of third-party compatible gadgets are available, that can easily integrate with the voice assistants.
Third, for luxury and lifestyle, implementing Smart Home automation is, in the trend nowadays. The growing high-tech functionality made the smart home’s tool used for entertainment and luxury. Changing home lighting mode or control them is one of the examples of their usability for lifestyle. More, you can play a song and change it, or control its volume and bass.
What are the benefits of Smart Home automation?
As mentioned above, you can take advantage of Smart Home technology and make your home secure. Also, command and control your appliances, and use them for entertainment and luxury.
In contrast, a Smart Home makes your life easier and convenient. Whether you’re outside the home or on a trip, the Smart Home will stay you alert and aware about your home activities. The connected security systems will provide better help in case of emergency.
Now another question to ask, what all things can you do with a Smart Home? The answer is, you just dream, and get it done.
The smart devices are upgrading every day and we are now getting new products with better functional uses. Below are some of the uses to know:
- Manage all of your home devices from one place.
- Maximize your home security
- Control of home functions Remotely
- Efficient use of energy
- Improved functionality of devices
- Better home management and time-saving
Smart Home Benefits in detail
You can keep all of the devices connected through one interface at your home. simply using the app on your smartphone, or the voice command, you can operate them effortlessly.
With a high-up curve in the technology’s advancement, you can wonderfully accommodate new appliances into your smart zone. And they all will make your job easier than before, let you be free and make life relaxed.
The surveillance cameras, automated door locks, and other equally important home security devices make you aware of the activities into your place. They always send alerts for any kind of emergency. The smart devices can even intimate you for the gas leaks, CO2 level, heat, fire, unauthorized access to the doors, and so on.
Even if you are anywhere around, or out of the town, using the apps you will be able to switch on your home cooling system. You can more similarly control the heating and cooling functions of the cooling system with a programmable timer, lets you save the energy and its cost.
Across the world, on your smartphone or tablet screen, can watch, your kids watching TV or doing their homework? or what pets are doing inside?
Without worrying, an intelligently programmable system can increase the functionality of your devices and appliances. Just imagine, a home theater system managing your favorite list of movie and music. Another, your kitchen appliance keeps track on overcooking and undercooking.
Another key point, can a Smart Home technology move you towards digital wellbeing? Yes. Most of the companies including, Google, working on digital wellbeing nowadays. Using various smart tools and their stats, you will be able to keep track of your time, that you are spending on your digital life. In that case, the resulted data will show you, how long you are watching the video, listening to songs or hanging on Facebook and Instagram.
- Read- Google launched YouTube ‘Time Watched‘ feature, a step towards digital wellbeing.
What are some challenges in Smart Home?
In every technology, there are advantages, but on the flip side a few challenges too. In the same way, few challenges are still there in the field of smart home technology. Check, in short:
- difficult for less tech-savvy people
- a bit hard to choose the right product among a plethora
- not all companies providing a complete range of devices
- need to use different apps to control distinct devices
- must required internet connection for device network
- sometimes costly solutions
Though the technology grew, still, most people are not enough tech-savvy. There are people who use remote, only to switch-on and off the TV. Similarly, few users can only pick calls using the smartphone and don’t know much about other smartphone’s functions. For them, the smart home product may be difficult to operate. Rather easing their life, smart devices may create trouble.
Finding the Smart Home product
There are so many companies, developing Smart Home technology products. Some big brands such as Siemens AG, Schneider Electric SE, ABB Ltd, Samsung Electronics Co., Honeywell International inc. are in the field of Smart Home automation.
Finding a Smart Home solution, with big brands may be a bit costlier. Also, the cost increases because the technology functions are relatively new, and we usually have to pay more for new technology.
In spite, most of the start-up firms having a bigger share in the field. All because of their price point of the products. The start-up companies are offering products at a comparatively chipper price. But, again its a bit hard to judge, which company’s product is better for the user-specific function.
Another usual challenge is, finding a complete range of devices is a bit difficult. Why? Because most of the companies are not providing a complete range of solutions. Different companies having distinct products, basis their usability and functions. For example – you will find a good Smart Home security door system in a company, but, at the same time, the same company may not be manufacturing smart switches to control your home lights.
If you use many smartphone plug-ins or devices from different companies, you may have to use different apps to control their devices. it’s a hectic job rather than making you restful.
Though having technological advancement, still there’s no such standard for these gadgets. While lacking such standard, many consumers worry about spending the amount on products fearing of a short-run wipeout.
Another key point, a Smart Home device network must required internet. If you don’t have internet connectivity, the whole smart home things are useless.
Smart Home automation has touch the majority of users. Keeping this in mind, consumer electronic companies are continuously developing their product line-ups for intelligent home.
Thankfully, brands in diverse fields are collectively working to create a complete Smart Home solution. To put it another way, home automation product manufacturers are launching products with their new functions. Similarly, virtual assistants are being wider in terms of their compatibility with newly launched devices. App developers and programmers are collaboratively working in the same way to develop a strong back-end system. On the other hand, internet service providers, keeping in mind the smart home tech, are now providing better services.
All things considered, diverse things are collectively making the Smart Home technology, better for today and the future too!