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What’s the Deal with Home Automation?
Home automation — the fancy term is domotics — has been around for a long time. You know your old coffee maker you could program to start brewing at a certain time in the morning? That’s home automation. Over the past decade, we’ve upped the ante and we have now entered the era of the smart home.
Having a home we can control remotely and talks to us is no longer just part of some science fiction fantasy. It is in the here and now, and is quickly advancing and adding products. Not only is it fun to play with the different smart home gadgets, they add real value in terms of energy efficiency, security, peace of mind, and convenience.
Home automation is a system of managing appliances and devices throughout your home. This includes your heating, lighting, security system, and home entertainment system. New products and services are being constantly added. Did you know you can get a smart pet feeder so you can feed your cat when you aren’t home? When you consider all the things home automation can do, you really start to understand why it is referred to as a smart home.
We are most familiar with the electrical smart products, but there are smart plumbing features. You can get a smart tap that uses voice activation and pours specific amounts of water. You can also install a shower system you can program with your preferred temperature, lighting, and music.
There are two main components to your smart home; home automation and remote control.
Home automation gives you the ability to program and schedule events for your smart products. You can program devices to do what you want when you want. Like your sprinkler system, you can program it to water at certain times on specific days. Just set it and forget it!
Remote control allows you to access and monitor your devices from anywhere in the world. For example, if you have smart cameras, you can pull up real-time video feeds to make sure your kids aren’t having a party while you’re gone for the weekend.
A third component that is becoming more prevalent is self-learning. Some smart products are designed to learn from how it is used and programmed and make adjustments. It’s a step up from scheduling.
Smart thermostats are the most common self-learning device. You program your thermostat with your schedule and over time the thermostat “learns” and will tweak your schedule. It usually relies on your smartphone’s location and acts accordingly. There are even blinds that learn its opening and closing schedule based on the position of the sun.
Other than the coolness factor, what are the benefits of a smart home?
You can program your system to send you alerts when certain smart home products detect problems or if you have programmed it to notify you when a certain event occurs. This is really handy. Your smart lock can let you know when your child gets home from school and your security system can notify you when it registers a potential problem. There are even smart water sensors that detect leaks, freezing, and excessive humidity and can send you alerts. This is really useful if you’ve left Red Deer for sunnier climes for your winter vacation. If you receive a leak alert, you can have someone look at it before you get home and the leak has turned into a small water disaster.
A major benefit of a smart home is the ability to schedule your heating and lighting to match your daily schedule. That way your furnace and lighting are not operating and wasting energy when you are not home or in the room. And good energy efficiency leads to cost savings.
You are able to manage all your smart home devices and appliances from one place. No hunting around for all those random remotes.
Smart homes can be designed using different protocols (systems). Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi are a few. Please speak with an expert to determine which system is best for your needs and budget.
Even though home automation and smart home products are part of our current world, it really is the way of the future. You will see more and more products being designed for a smart home. If you are just starting to dabble in the area, we recommend Google Nest and Ecobee integrated smart products as a place to start.