For decades, we’ve been dreaming about a futuristic lifestyle. But now, this fantasy is finally within grasp.
In fact, the concept of home automation has been around for some time. It rose to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As the internet and technological advancements exploded, the development of appliances linked to computers flourished. Smart homes suddenly became a more affordable option.
Home automation has already passed its infancy stages. Soon robots that will complete your chores in autonomous homes will be commonplace. The technology backing these ideas are just now entering the mainstream.
Our desire for convenience, security, and energy efficiency have pushed innovators to develop solutions to cater to our needs. More importantly, developers must focus on the connectivity and interactivity of various devices, both of which are essential for overall efficiency and performance.
As technology continues to progress at an incredible pace, IA and IoT have found a comfortable niche in our homes.
What is IoT (Internet of Things)?
Imagine your alarm ringing in the morning. As you press the snooze button, your coffee maker- linked to your alarm clock- turns on automatically. You finally roll out of bed to the aroma of brewing coffee. And as you head into the bathroom, the lights turn on automatically. While you brush, the shower automatically turns on, adjusting the water to your desired temperature.
No, this is not a scene from a movie. This can – and is – happening. And it is only one scenario of IoT at work. The capabilities – and opportunities- of IoT for solving common household issues are endless.
IoT (Internet of Things) is the concept of connecting a device to the internet as well as other devices. It facilitates the control of electronic devices from remote locations.
More importantly, ‘smart’ technology not only enhances performance but also efficiency. Utilizing less energy follows in the footsteps of the current ‘green’ revolution.
As we head into the next generation of home automation, we are looking at entire smart homes. It will encompass everything from temperature management to home security to re-ordering food items that are low in supply. So forgetting to turn off the lights as you rush out the door for work will be a thing of the past.
Essential Components of Home Automation
The global market for home automation is expected to reach USD 39.88 billion by 2024. As the technology behind home automation continues to evolve and costs are reducing, it is becoming an affordable option for many homeowners.
However, two critical elements essential for optimal development remain. They are:
1. The Internet of Things
Components of a smart home must establish a wireless connection. Since they contain software that facilitates the constant exchange of data, they must be able to collect, process, and send data quickly. Furthermore, they should offer the option of being monitored and controlled remotely.
2. Open Source Automation
Open Source Automation allows you to expand your current network. You must easily be able to add or replace devices. This promotes the advancement of interconnected solutions that will be operating over high-speed Wi-Fi.
Possible Applications of IoT for Your Home
As mentioned above, there is no shortage of IoT applications. The digitalization is just beginning to kick off. Cost reduction, enhanced internet connectivity, and the need for simplistic designs are fueling the growth of this market.
Amazing projects using the concepts of automation include lighting, safety and security, HVAC, entertainment, and energy management, amongst others.
Some popular IoT components you can install in your home are:
Smart Temperature Control
Multiple aspects come into play to maintain the temperature. But one of the first pieces of IoT technology that homeowners are investing in is smart thermostats. Parks Associates finds 23% of US households plan to buy a smart thermostat before the end of 2019.
These devices automatically adjust the temperature of your home according to your routine and residential zones, therefore maximizing energy efficiency.
Smart thermostats not only help reduce energy bills, but they also monitor the internal climate system. It detects any issues with the A/C or furnace, allowing you to address problems before they escalate and become costlier to repair.
But some companies are taking temperature control to an entirely higher level of sophistication. They are offering a solution that involves automatic roller shutters to help heat or cool your home. For instance, closing the blinds to keep the heat out during the summer can help keep your home cooler.
Smart Security Systems
Smart security systems are highly customizable. Currently, 44% of Americans own a smart security product. This sector is expected to grow as the need for home monitoring solutions increase as well.
Home security is commonly linked to surveillance. With automation, people can monitor their homes remotely, identify visitors or deliveries, and control access to their home.
Since nearly 70% of forced entries into homes are through windows, so this is the first place to begin. Sensors detect unnatural entries and sound an alarm.
Smart locks use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to monitor your movements. With the aid of your smartphone’s GPS, the door locks automatically behind you. An integrated app can also grant access to your friends and family.
Another aspect of home security involves smart lighting and automated blinds. Since a dark home is a sign that no one is home, you can set timers to set a schedule for them to turn on and off throughout the day.
As with any automated system in your home, a smart security system is only efficient if its components work together in a seamless environment. For instance, when a motion sensor is triggered, the lights should turn on, and the camera should begin recording.
As mentioned above, this system can serve various purposes, from security to energy management to home entertainment. The apparent function of a smart bulb, an internet-capable LED light, is to allow you to control its brightness or on/off capabilities from your smartphone.
But edge computing technology is equipping smart bulbs with additional features like built-in cameras, built-in speakers, and presence-sensing capabilities.
On a side note, home automation solutions also focus on allowing you to control the amount of natural light entering your home. This is where automated blinds and screens do their jobs.
Sensor technologies are creeping into various industries. Some of the topics mentioned above already discussed a few applications. Other examples include alarms that can sense gas, fires, carbon monoxide levels, water leakage, etc.
You can also obtain additional alerts about weather conditions such as updates and warnings. Devices can be connected to local weather stations to keep your home prepared for unfavorable conditions.
Yes, that’s a thing. From heated floors to self-cleaning toilets (we should all invest in this!), various elements are associated with this arena.
For those concerned with water conservation, smart shower heads are the ideal solution. With the help of integrated apps, you can monitor how much water you are using while showering.
Some even change color depending upon water usage. Other features include voice-activated showers and automatic temperature settings based on personal preferences.
Television mirrors are quite in style. More than just seeing your reflection, you can now watch the news or your favorite show while you get ready.
Smart Kitchen Appliances
Now, this is a dream come true. Kitchens are typically the busiest places in houses. So there is quite a lot of scope for IoTs. All in all, you’re looking at a kitchen equipped with the best appliances, collaborating in an interactive environment.
There are so many appliances that I couldn’t possibly mention them all. But common ones include coffee makers that turn on before you even crave a cup of joe, a dishwasher that turns on when you finish loading the dishes, a fridge that tells you what ingredients are available for your recipe of choice, a stove that turns off when it detects gas leakage, and much more.
When it comes to investing in smart home solutions, Millennials (consumers ages 18-34) are driving the sales. However, the demographics are all over the place. Single-family homeowners and people with higher incomes are more tilted towards adapting home automation systems.
Coincidentally, the Digital Voice Assistants: Ownership and Applications Report stated that people who owned a voice-enabled speaker, Amazon Echo (48%) and Google Home (57%), where more likely to buy their first home automation product soon after.
While the newer generation doesn’t want anything to do with toolboxes, many older people are as equally interested in advanced home automation trends. Moreover, there is a larger population with greater knowledge about connected technology.
What Does the Future Have in Store?
Automation solutions are constantly evolving. Today the focus is on integrating devices that will allow homeowners to control them through mobile apps from anywhere around the world.
The future, however, will consist of something even better. Autonomous homes run by AI are around the corner. Through IoT, devices can ‘learn’ from your behavioral patterns and offer meaningful insights. They can automatically readjust the settings based on your choices, habits, and routines.
Are you ready to live in a home that has a mind of its own?