These days, it’s hard to imagine a life without a connection to the Internet. We use the Web to search to read the latest news, catch up on our friends’ lives, play games, or do practically anything.
Increasingly, organisations are making use of the Internet of Things (IoT), extending Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Wearable technology like the Fitbit allows users to track their physical activity, while IoT platforms help monitor the location of cargo through wireless sensors.
With the prediction that the world will have 50 billion connected devices by 2020, smart devices are making their way to homes as well.
Why make a home “smart”?
A smart home involves replacing appliances, gadgets and accessories with automated versions that are connected to the home’s Wi-Fi.
The most obvious benefit of having a smart home is convenience. You can control everything in the house in real time from an app on your mobile device or from a voice-controlled smart speaker.
Information is another benefit you’ll enjoy with a smart home. Gadgets provide you with data in real time – from the weather forecast to a report of your energy consumption for the month.
Lastly, a smart home allows you to automate actions so that you don’t have to provide input in the future. Depending on your home routine, you can set up the lighting system to automatically turn on as someone enters the house, or the thermostat can warm the house when temperatures lower.
Automating your home
The key to building a smart home is knowing how you can improve your home life with smart devices. According to smart home designers, a homeowner needs technologies for four main reasons: security, environment control, home entertainment and automation of everyday tasks.
- Home security – Several smart gadgets protect your home from various risks: intruders, fire and water damage. The common technologies available are burglar alarm systems, CCTV, smart locks and fire/smoke detection. Some lighting systems automatically turn on when they detect movement, and trackers can be attached to items such as keys and cars so that they can be easily traced.
- Environment control – Smart technologies enable you to control heating and lighting, changing your home experience based on your needs. For example, sensors turn down the heating when a person leaves a room. Lighting systems can dim the lights, depending on owner specifications.
- Automation of daily tasks – Automating repetitive tasks allows people to do other chores. Smart watering systems will automatically water a garden, adjusting the level of irrigation based on local weather reports. Sliding door types like wooden internal doors and cavity glass doors can be installed with devices so they can automatically open, easing accessibility for family members who have difficulty opening doors. Virtual assistants can order essential items at home when they run out.
- Home entertainment – Smart sound systems allow you to play music in different areas from a single input source. A press of a button on a remote can start up a comprehensive home theatre setup, which can also control room lights and temperature.
Deciding on a smart home system
When deciding on a smart home system, identify your typical activities, from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed. Also think of activities you and your family may do throughout the year, such as when you’ll be away on holiday and when you need to water your garden.
There is also an increasing number of smart home technologies, and you may not necessarily buy from one vendor. If you decide to buy several devices, make sure they are compatible with each other. Also, take your budget into account. Some devices are expensive, but they provide comprehensive solutions and are more cost-effective than buying several, separate systems.
With a wide variety of technologies now available, building a smart home is a challenging task. Through thorough research, your efforts will be worth it as home living becomes more comfortable, enjoyable and secure.