The smart home technologies are not from yesterday. We are witnesses on the fast and furious developments in this direction.
The intelligent homes are saving us money, by reducing the consumed energy. Furthermore, they are safer, provide us with better security and save us valuable time. Smart homes can be controlled in place or remotely by a computer, smartphone, or another mobile device over the Internet. But along with the new technologies also new questions arise.
What means Smart Home and how do the Smart Homes work? How useful are they for us and what is the future? Here we’ll talk about the Intelligent Homes and provide answers to these popular nowadays questions.
What Is a Smart Home?
For decades the human being dreams of intelligent and autonomous homes that perform all household tasks by themselves. Through the years the concept of a domotic house has become reality, known now as Smart Home. Smart or Intelligent Home is a neologism, that gives the name to something that people have been imagining and dreaming about for years.
Let’s summarize what the Smart Home stands for. This is an accommodation that provides its owners a comfort, convenience, safety, security, and energy efficiency (low operating costs) and at all times. When I say at all times I mean – regardless of whether anyone is home, or not.
The Smart Home Concept
The Smart Homes are among hottest topics on the Web nowadays and much has been written and talked about them. From intelligent air-conditioning and heating controls to automation of the lighting.
The smart homes bring the future with smart kitchens, automated multimedia, and intelligent gadgets for household cleaning. If you think that the smart homes concept is something new, I might surprise you.
Most of us dream about a well-designed intelligent home where the lights come on when you enter the corridor in the night, trying to find the way to the bathroom.
Or when the heating goes on a just on time, before you get home to welcome you with a warm nice atmosphere. Home, sweet home.
Home, Smart Home
The intelligent home is not science fiction or something from the future anymore. It is something from our present reality and has its name: a SmartHome. Smart lighting, smart kitchen, smart window or curtain control, smart cinema, intelligent security, smart safety systems.
The coffee machine fills up a cup with your favorite Italian espresso and the last drop goes, just prior the moment you enter the smart kitchen. The kitchen robot gives the final touch to your plate and a robot vacuum cleaner slides silently through the living room while you are playing football with the kids in the park. The curtains go down when the sunlight is too strong. The TV knows what is your favorite channel and when to turn it on or off.
How Do Smart Homes work?
Realistically almost anything electronic can be automated and this is the idea behind the intelligent homes. It is good to mention here that between the popular terms a Smart Home, a Connected Home, and Home Automation and Internet of Things (known as IoT) there is a difference. In short (because this is interesting, but a very long topic) the Smart homes can’t exist without Automation and that the IoT (Internet of Things) provides the medium for all included innovations, features, and technologies to make the home a “Smart Home”.
On another hand, The Internet of Things, or IoT is a network of devices such as home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data. Basically, the term Internet of Things incorporates everything connected to the Internet. However, the term IoT is usually being used to represent objects or devices that communicate with each other.
The smart home works basically work this way. All appliances are connected via a central smart hub (a computer) which directs when and how each appliance to be switched on or off at a certain time or times.
As an example, with the help of an independent Automated system, the lamps at your home could be switched on or off when the intensity of the light outside reaches a certain point (when a photoelectric sensor detects that it’s dark).
The centralized control (the smart hub) in a Smart Home does what you normally do yourself by monitoring the state of the whole home and manipulates various appliances accordingly. For example, it monitors light levels coming through the windows and automatically raises blinds in the morning or switches the lights on at the evenings. See the example of the automated system, which doesn’t necessarily belongs to a smart home.
Apart from how to deal with automation, the smart home knows what to do if certain conditions are met (If-This-Then-that). For example, via sensors, the Smart home detects movements across the properties and responds appropriately, depending on the situation. If it knows you’re home, it will switch the music or lights on in particular rooms as you walk between them. In case you’re out, and the smart systems detect movement, the smart home will sound an intruder alarm and can contact you and/or other parties.
Is the Smart Home useful?
Do We need Smart Homes? You might still wonder do you really need to convert your home into a Smart Home. Of course, automating everyday tasks provides comfort and that gives us more free time to enjoy our hobbies and loved ones. But behind the complete smart home concept, there is much more than comfort only.
Let’s say that the only thing Smart Homes bring is the comfort and forget about everything else. Still, the important part of everything home automation does for us apart of the comfort includes the safety, security, healthy lifestyle and also savings.
One of the most noted benefits is the increase in security after the installation of alarms and cameras on the exterior and interior of our home. Another important reason is the economic savings obtained by conditioning the different rooms of the house. Air conditioning and heating a la carte that is launched when we indicate we can save at the end of the month and amortize the investment made.
Energy saving, apart from having an impact on our economy, also affects the environment. This is a point that takes on special relevance at a time when the brands of household appliances devote a large budget in research to make devices increasingly efficient and respectful of our environment. The combination of technological advances with intelligent and personalized use of our appliances helps us to create a more sustainable world for ourselves and our children.
Basically, efficiency and sustainability and all previously mentioned benefits define the latest concepts for Smart Homes. Hence if you ask me do I want to live into such a Smart home it would be the same if you ask me if I want to live safer, cheaper and better.
So, yes we do need smart homes.
Smart Homes Now and in Future
The blinds that go up and down already exist for a long time. The curtains that run automatically or the LEDs that darken or brighten with the sunlight changes have also been around for a while. The kitchen robots, the automated HVAC systems, and vacuum cleaners have also been with us for years now.
Do you remember how did we communicate with all these devices in the past and often even now? They have to be configured one by one. Then, what would happens if one day our plans change and we arrive before or after the pre-scheduled time? Surely it would be very hot or cold, the floor will be dirty, you would have to order food at home (because the food robot didn’t manage to prepare our steak) and so on.
The management of the whole household by a simple app and a mobile device is a big game changer. Previously, the main obstacle faced by smart homes has been none other than the way in which people could connect and communicate to their home. With the arrival of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, we have the perfect tools to manage our home at any time and almost any place. At least those with Internet access.
The mobile technologies are the cornerstone from which the house of the future is being built.
Now we have applications and can receive information sent directly from home appliances to our mobile phone. It seems we now have everything: a washing machine that we can start up from the office, a refrigerator that notifies us that a food has been used up and prepares the shopping list, thermostats that warn us if it’s too cold or hot at home …you name it.
This all is simply incredible and has just begun. But what is coming next and what the smart homes will be like in five or even two years time? What is the future of smart home is difficult to predict as we know how the new technologies develop faster with time passing by.
One thing is sure tough- everything around our homes will be more advanced and even better than it’s now.