Gartner Says Smart Cities Will Use 1.6 Billion Connected Things in 2016 and set to grow in the next 5 years. Smart homes will represent 21 percent of total IoT use in smart cities in 2016.1
Homes will move from being interconnected to information-and smart-enabled to create an integrated services environment that will provide value to the home and the individual ambience. This means that device and wireless standards will be embedded in more devices to make them smart home devices.
Our homes have been automated for decades with a remote control, from switching on an air-conditioner to opening the garage door. However, in the last few years, it has become smart, courtesy Internet of Things (IoT) - internet, sensors and connectivity. The modern smart home can do much more than switching on heaters and lights, it can actually think on its own. For the uninitiated, let me start from the basics
What is Home Automation?
Use and control of home appliances remotely or automatically is called home automation. In the past, devices or appliances were not communicating with each other but with advent of IoT, all the devices and appliances can be programmed to communicate with each other through networks and sensors. These devices can be controlled and monitored remotely as well.
How do they operate?
Devices or appliances are hardwares which has sensors, controllers and communication systems. They are typically connected through a wifi or network and is accessed through an application. These can be handled remotely using a basic remote control device or a bluetooth connected to a smartphone or a tablet. Home automation or smart home solutions are available through a suite of products designed to work together.
Is there an imminent need for a Smart home?
Our monthly expenses include electricity, water and other utility bills. Sometimes these bills will burn a hole in our wallet. With a smart home we can have full control of how our home utilizes electricity, water heater and other necessary household appliances. This can greatly reduce any wasted energy or other resources, thus, reducing our wasteful expenditure. For example, a smart home will automatically switch off the lights and TV when there is no one in that room. If you had forgotten to tur off the heater while leaving your house, a smart home environment will detect this and turn it off automatically. It does not end here; as the smart home can turn the heater on just moments before you return home, enabling the home to be warm when you enter the house.
Are there any more benefits of a smart home?
If we can bear with the initial investment, the connected devices such as learning thermostats, smart sprinklers, Wi-Fi enabled lights, electricity monitoring outlets and water heater modules cut down on energy and water use.
Many devices at home, from ovens and fridges to main doors, can be controlled remotely via apps on smartphones and tablets. In most cases, this control also works when you are away from home; like switching off your stove from the grocery store.
Having your living room lights turn on as you arrive home, stereo playing your favorite song and the door opening as you approach with a bagful of groceries is perhaps the ultimate luxury of the smart home. A sensor can tell you when your fridge is out of milk, and a Wi-Fi enabled doorbell can let you "answer" your door from anywhere in the world. Some of these things seemed a distant dream when we watched all these in sci-fi movies just a decade ago. But the distant dream has become a reality now.
Many simple, connected security solutions for the Smart home are available as inexpensive alternatives to 24x7 monitored security systems. Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, connected motion sensors and smart smoke alarms can help you to monitor your smart home from anywhere via live video feed, email and text alerts.
Smart sensors that can detect water leaks, humidity levels, carbon monoxide, motion, heat and every environmental concern imaginable help prevent accidents from turning into disasters because they can communicate with you directly, wherever you are.
What are the smart home devices you use in your home? If not, are you geared up to move to a smart home environment?