What is considered as a smart home? A smart home can be defined as a residential house that has smart gadgets and intelligent devices that act intelligently together to control and maintain the comfort level of the residences living in that home.
Smart homes are fully integrated into the internet and embedded with sensors that act as an input to a collective intelligence that enhances the environment in that smart home.
A Smart Home will increase the livelihood of the residents living in that home as many daily functions can be automated. By automating certain routine things, it will allow you and your family members to do other much more beneficial things. A Smart home also will provide more quality in life by providing an extra layer of protection and comfort to you and your family.
So, just by putting a smart lightbulb does not make your home a smart home. You need to fulfil specific characteristics to categorise as a Smart Home.
HOW DOES SMART HOME WORKS?
So, what defines a home as a “Smart Home”? The basic requirements of a smart home are that it should have sensors, controllers, actuators, buses and interfaces.
These requirements can be fulfilled through the installation of smart gadgets and devices that is already on the market shelf. Therefore, there is no need for you to buy sensors and controllers and install it in your home for it to be smart.
For example, if you purchase a Nest, for example, it is already fitted with sensors to detect your room’s temperature. Sensors measure a specific variable or a set of variables and act as the input to your home automation system.
The set of variables can be in the form of temperature, lighting, humidity or even heat presence. If you connect this gadget that already has sensors to a controller such as your Amazon Alexa or Google Home, it acts as an input feed so that you can either automate certain things or remote control certain devices in your home from afar.
This brings us then to the automation of specific function in your home. Automation for your home can be either time-based events or trigger based events. Time-Based events are inputs to the controllers based on a particular set of pre-determined time. For example, if you want your porch light to turn on at exactly 7 pm and turn off at 7 am. This is a time-based event that triggers the controller.
Actuators are the implementers of the home automation system of your home and act the output or result from the input your controller received. Actuators can be in the form of motorised valves or motors where it can be activated from the controller. This is an essential element to the automation system in your home.
A trigger based event does not depend on the time but activated by specific external variables such as motion, heat or physical input or action. Trigger event based is highly dependable on sensors for it to be enabled.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A SMART HOME
- CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
As we are entering the internet of things era, your smart home will be one of the focal point where essential items such as your TV, refrigerator and others are connected to the internet. The advent of large bandwidth the internet can now carry will enable this ordinary equipment in our home to be able to level up and give more added value to our life.
- INTERCONNECTED SMART GADGETS / DEVICES
Having one smart device may not qualify your smart home as “smart” but having several connected devices definitely will make your homes much smarter. These smart devices can be interconnected to one another to deliver you the experience of having a personal assistant in your home catering to your comfort and need.
One such example is by having a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home where some of the smart devices are connected to the smart speaker. Therefore, you can communicate with your connected devices and instructs how you want it to perform. One perfect example is by telling your Smart thermostat such as Nest to lower and increase the temperature. You can also show your light bulb to switch off or on by using the smart speaker. By having all the devices connected to Amazon Alexa for example, will give you the experience of having a smart home that is working to provide you with the comfort level you want.
- GIVES REAL-TIME FEEDBACK
In a smart home, the smart devices in your home must also provide real-time feedback to you as when required. For example, you should be able to know the live condition of your room remotely via a smart CCTV or camera where you can access remotely. You should be able to recognise the real-time situation of your room such as lighting and temperature based on original dashboard reporting that can be located either remotely or at home.
- SELF ADJUSTING TO MATCH YOUR COMFORT LEVEL
In a smart home, the sensors, actuators and controllers will work together with the objective of giving the residential the desired comfort level. A smart home should be able to self-adjust automatically with minimal interference from people. The desired comfort level should be set earlier by the people in the smart house so that it can continuously give the desired output.
BENEFITS OF A SMART HOME
So, what is the benefit of having a smart home?
The benefits can be in the form of tangible and non-tangible. Here we list down some of the main advantages of having a smart home
- FREE UP YOUR TIME
Having smart gadgets in your home can free up your time for other much more meaningful things to do with your family. Not worrying to see the temperature and ambient of your home is set correctly. Alternatively, to go to a specific part of your house to turn on certain things when you can activate it by your voice would save you some time to do other much more urgent matters.
- GET REAL FEEDBACK
By having sensors in your home, you can get real feedback of certain conditions of your home on the tips of your finger. You would be able to know which room where the light is still on. You can know real-time visual of individual places or the entire house if you set up a wireless camera that is connected to the controller. Depending on your needs, you can set the feedback that you want either by remote or by checking with the controller.
- GIVE ADDED SECURITY
A smart home can give the residence an extra added layer of security. This can come in the form of wireless camera, auto lock gate or even a smart porch light where it can automatically turn on or off on its own. Motion sensors can also be added into the smart home automation system that can serve as an added protection level to your home.
- INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
With the automation of specific daily task in your home, it can increase productivity as well. Depending on what type of smart gadget you have installed in your smart home, any gadgets that can alert you of time and also task oriented will help you increase your overall productivity.
HOW MUCH DOES A SMART HOME COST?
It depends on how much you are willing to invest in upgrading the quality of your life in your home. The most critical first investment for a smart home is the controller in which can be in the form of the smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple Pod. This controller can be the first step in adding more and more connected devices into your home. You can probably start with smart lighting first to get the hands of things.
A smart home that is powered by the computer and the internet is going to be the next big thing. As the internet of things gains more traction in the market place, the more applications and gadgets that will be created to further increase the quality and livelihood of our life and the life of our family.
Please leave us a comment beow on whether you have already smarten up your home or not. Read also our previous article on how to smarten up your home.