We have all had a time in our life where we have questioned whether we left the oven on or left a window unlocked long after already leaving the house. Home automation is the system that allows you to access those types of things and correct them from any location that you happen to be at the time.
What exactly is it?
Home automation is broken down into two different major components, automation and remote control. The process of automation is the ability to program and schedule certain items and devices in your homes to perform specific operations at specific times. Time and alarm related events are controlled without the need of a push to start that make it convenient for the planned out portions of your day. The other side of the spectrum is the remote control portion of home automation. Since the development of smart phones it has opened up a significant amount of opportunity for two-way remote monitoring. As long as your system is connected to any device in your home that has internet access, you can view and control the system from anywhere
What are the Technologies?
There are some home automation systems that use technology as simple as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The reason some vendors choose to avoid the most well-known providers are for their excess use of power and bandwidth. The technology for home automation began back in the 1975 with X10. While it may not be the top of the line home automation system that it used to be, it still has multiple products in reasonable price ranges. Wireless networks seem to be the most popular and convenient forms of home automation at the moment, and that is why companies like ZigBee and Z-Wave have received attention. ZigBee is a standard-based wireless solution that is used by a variety of cable and telecommunication companies to help in their set-top boxes, satellite transceivers and home gateways for home management solutions to their customers. The low amount of power used throughout the system and its ability to connect up to 250 devices in the same cloud makes it a reliable option for anyone in the market. Another wireless system is Z-Wave which is owned by Sigma designs which develops chips that I turn allow vendors to use Z-Wave capable products. Wireless networks that use minimal power are the way to go when it comes to home automation, and here are some of the products that support it.
What are the Products?
There are a wide range of products that fall under the home automation category. These products can be anything from lighting, temperature, surveillance, sprinkler, or can just flat out do it all. A prime example of a do it all system is the Protection1 Home Automation system. The list of features includes being able to arm and disarm your security system remotely, receive text alerts and notifications with activity, lock and unlock doors from the push of a button. While Protection1 covers the basics of home automation, products such as the Rachio Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller can go a level further. This home automated sprinkler system can make sure to water your lawn when it’s needed based on the weather outside. Another smart device that has the convenience of a key in your pocket is the Kwikset 925 Kevo Bluetooth Electronic Lock. This device converts your smart phone into a key by entering your home info with just having your phone in your pocket.
Home Automation seems to be the next step for smart accessibility without the hassle of being home. With further advancements in technology and lower prices, we can see this being the way to take care of our homes moving forward.