Home Automation: Everything About Smart Home Technology

January 31, 2020 Gursharan Singh

Home Automation: Everything About Smart Home Technology

Home Automation Guide. Everything About A Smart Home.

Home automation is a new concept and maybe you have several questions in your mind regarding this topic. Right?

In this article, you’ll get answers to all of your questions related to this trending term “Home Automation”. 

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Let’s start….

Home Automation Introduction 

What Is Home Automation?

What Is Home Automation?
What Is Home Automation?

Simple meaning of home automation or house automation is making your existing home appliances smart by integrating smart devices in your home.

Smart devices have capability to communicate with cloud servers and can know the on/off status of other neighbour appliances presented in the same home. 

Home automation can be considered as a small part of the “Internet of things” or IoT. In short, your home will get connected to the internet to provide you better control over it. 

You can turn on or off any of your appliances, dim your lights, check the insights of your home (what appliances consumes the most energy, which appliance is useless after automation, etc), give verbal commands to control everything.

All these facilities make your life more convenient. And, comfort can reduce your stress and can help you to take a step forward towards a better lifestyle. 

What Is Home Automation System?

Home automation system is a system in which a home can control climate, sound system, electronic devices, entertainment system, security sensors, etc through a protocol connectivity. 

Home automation systems needs two basic things which are as follow:- 

  • Smart Devices:- Smart devices provide the potential to your existing appliance and devices to talk to cloud servers. Smart devices are integrated behind the home switchboard and can make your existing appliances smart. 
Smart devices
Smart devices
  • Internet Connection:- Different home automation companies manufacture smart devices with different protocol compatibility. But, the most common protocol which most people prefer is Wi-fi. People are friendly with this protocol and know how it works.
Internet Connection
Internet Connection

Smart Home And Smart Home Automation

How Smart Home Automation Is Beneficial For You?

When a simple home gets the ability to talk to cloud servers it is called smart home or smart home automation. 

The term “Smart home automation system” or “Home automation system” has the same meaning. 

This technology is changing continuously and facilitating end users to have a better life with minimal efforts. 

A smart home lets you control all automated appliances through mobile application or through voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri.

List of advantages of home automation is very long and even you can read #20 Reasons Why Should You Automate Your Home?

The 4 most common benefits of a smart home are mentioned below:-

  • Remote Access:- Imagine, you can control your home by sitting in your home. Not cool. Right?

Now imagine, you can control your home from a different country. Sounds cool! Right? With a smart home you can control all your appliances by sitting anywhere in the world.

Remote access
Remote access
  • Comfort Maximiser:- We all are struggling for a better life and trying to find a point in life where we can sit or lay and can take rest without any stress. 

A smart home reduces the stress because you don’t need to manually interact with your existing appliances to control them. It means a smart home maximises the comfort in your life. 

Comfort maximiser
Comfort maximiser
  • Home Security:- Home security is a big concern of anybody, especially when they go out. Behind the back, any uncertainty can happen. 

To avoid this headache and to keep your home secure smart homes are much more capable than simple homes. 

Home security
Home security
  • Beneficial For Handicapped People:- Handicapped people feel more independent in a smart home because they can control their room’s temperature, lights, fans, etc. 

You can read more about Smart Home And Its Benefits In 2020. With time, the number of benefits of a smart home may go up or down.  

beneficial for handicapped people
beneficial for handicapped people

5 Smart Devices For Your Smart Home

5 most common and trending smart devices are as follows:-

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker developed by Amazon. It is a voice-controlled smart speaker. It can communicate to the AI of Amazon named “Alexa”. 

Amazon Echo has the ability to play your desired music, voice interaction, stream podcasts, weather report, live news, etc.   

Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostat controls the temperature inside the home. They can recognise the temperature outside your home and can adjust home temperature accordingly. 

They understand your daily habits like when and what temperature is suitable for you. With time, they learn the temperature you need at specific timings. 

nest smart thermostat
nest smart thermostat

Smart Lock

Smart lock is a device which allows homeowners to enter their home without a traditional key. 

These locks open and close the door by getting a command from a homeowner through a mobile application, website or fob key.

This lock is used as a security device in a smart home. It provides a facility to homeowners of keyless locking. 

Smart lock
Smart lock

Motion Sensor

Motion sensor detects motion in a particular radius of area, especially moving objects or humans. 

These motion sensors or motion detecting devices are the components integrated in a system to perform specific tasks automatically.

Most commonly these sensors are useful in light controlling. home controlling, increase energy efficiency, etc. 

Motion sensor
Motion sensor

Water Level Controller

Water level controller is a device which regulates water flow in your tanks, pump, etc.

If you live in an area where water supply timings are not appropriate then water level controller is the best option for you. 

Some water level controllers have dry run protection.

It means if your pump is on and there is no water supply from the backend then water level controller will automatically stop the pump to provide dry run protection. 

Water level controller

Voice Controlled Or Voice Based Home Automation

Voice controlled or based home automation has a huge scope in the future! 

People feel ease to search things on the internet, play music or videos, news or weather report, shopping, etc through verbal commands. 

Verbal commands are time saving and more comfortable to tell your query to search engines or artificial intelligence. 

voice controlled home automation

Introduction To Voice Assistants

Voice assistants are digital assistants which can recognise voice and understand language.

They use natural language processing methods to understand verbal commands. 

In today’s era, these assistants can perform worthwhile actions like solving the inquiry of a voice searchers, ordering products, playing music or videos, calling a friend, etc.

Smart speakers
Smart speakers

Top 3 Voice Assistant For Home Automation:-

Alexa:- Amazon developed an AI (artificial intelligence) named “Alexa”.

This virtual assistant can stream podcasts, movies, play songs, news reports, weather reports, real-time information, etc. 

Alexa is one of the oldest voice assistants with quick responsiveness. Alexa is most commonly used in home automation.

Most smart homeowners use Amazon Echo smart speakers. 

 

Amazon smart speaker
Amazon smart speaker

Google Assistant:- Google assistant is developed by Google and has amazing accuracy in the field of verbal searching. 

Google is the largest search engine and can provide you most relevant search results. Also, you can play songs, movies, podcasts, call your friends, etc like Alexa. 

People love to use Google assistant in home automation.

Google smart speaker
Google smart speaker

Siri:- Siri is the other voice assistant developed by Apple. You can stay connected to your phone without using your fingers.

Similarly, you can use Siri to control your smart home. You can use HomePod as a smart speaker to control your smart home through verbal commands. 

Apple smart speaker
Apple smart speaker

Some people ask that “Can I Use Both Google Home And Amazon Alexa?” The simple answer is yes. You can use both home assistants in your smart home but your smart device should be compatible with both assistants.

Protocols In Home Automation

Most common protocols in Home Automation are as follows:-

  • Wi-fi:- Wi-fi is a wireless network technology which is based on radio waves. It facilitates users to have network connection and high-speed wireless internet connection. It is a RF (radio frequency) based technology in which doesn’t required wired connections to send and receive signals 
Wi-fi
Wi-fi
  • RF:- It is another protocol which works on electromagnetic radio waves in the range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz. 
Radio frequency
Radio frequency
  • ZigBee:- ZigBee is another wireless network protocol which works on low frequency radio signals. This protocol is used in personal area networks.
ZigBee
ZigBee
  • Z-wave:- Z-wave is the most used protocol in the industry of home automation. This network also works on low frequency radio waves.
Z-wave
Z-wave
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE):- Another network to send and receive data in short range. Some home automation products are also compatible with bluetooth low energy. 
Bluetooth
Bluetooth

Reality Of Home Automation Companies In India

Home automation startups in India are growing rapidly because demand is also getting up with time. 

As a startup, providing valuable goods or services is hard. But still, some startups are doing so well and one of them is Cloudblocks Smart Homes.

Cloudblocks manufacturing home automation products which are even affordable for middle class families as well.

Along with this, some companies are not manufacturing qualitative products.

The 3 major factors by which you can figure out which company is good are mentioned below:-

Online And Offline Reputation:- Check the online reputation of the brand from whom you are going to buy home automation products.

Check reviews, comments, feedback from the existing users of a particular product. 

Also, take offline feedback from the existing customers of the same brand. 

Product Ability And Functionality:- Product ability and functionality is another factor to judge the brand value.

Product should be stable and should have smooth functionality.

How much and what appliances can be controlled through that product is called the ability of the product.

Product Price And Guarantee/Warranty:- After knowing the brand reputation, product’s ability and functionality, now take a look on price and guarantee/warranty.

Price should be matchable with the brand reputation and guarantee/warranty feature. 

All these 3 factors are very important and enough to buy a quality home automation product.

I hope this article was helpful for you.

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Some Commonly Asked Questions About Home Automation

What are some interesting home automation start-ups in India?

Home automation topic is really getting more searches day-by-day. But, in India, very few companies are working on home automation. These start-ups are really interesting because they take initiative to transform normal homes into smart homes.
One of them is Cloudblocks. Cloudblocks is a smart home device manufacturing company. They are providing super fast customer support and their devices are compatible with Amazon Alexa.

Which is the best home automation system?

If you are looking for the best home automation system then focus on the following points:-

Product Quality:- Product quality can be only checked if you have used the product or someone else used the product. If we never bought a smart device then we should ask the people who already bought it. The best way to see the product feedback these days is online reviews.

Customer Support:- Customer support is so important factor when you are going to buy a digital product. If the customer support is not enough responsive then maybe you will get in trouble in the future.

Guarantee Or Warranty period:- Basically, guarantee or warranty period is the confidence of the company on their product. The more confidence they have on their device structure, design and durability, longer guarantee period they will provide.

Voice Assistant Compatibility:- There are three major voice assistants in the market Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri. Before buying the smart devices you need to see what type of voice assistants you want.

Every voice assistant has its own specialities and you have to judge that which assistant is best for you because every smart device has its own compatibilities. Some smart devices are compatible with Amazon Alexa and some are with Google Home. Also, there are some devices which are compatible with both assistants.

What are disadvantages due home automation?

The most common disadvantages of home automation are as follows:-

Cost:- Cost may go up and down according to the number of appliances you want to control and type of appliances you want to control.

Complex Technology:- This technology is new and complex for people especially, in India. Hence, they are not habitual to opt this kind of technology yet.

Installation:- Installation work may be a headache in some areas for example, hilly areas. In some areas, electricians face different kinds of issues such as different type of wiring, configuration problem because of slow internet connection, etc. But, not in all areas these things happens.

What are the benefits of home automation?

Home automation is a trending topic these days and the 3 most common benefits of home automation are mentioned below:-

Energy efficient:- Smart homes are energy efficient. If you came out from your home without turning-off your home appliances then you can still control them because of remote access feature.

Helpful For Elderly People:- It is really worthy for the elderly and patients because they can control room temperature, lightings, etc according to their preferences just by simple verbal commands or by mobile application.

Environment-Friendly:- Smart homes or automated homes are environment-friendly and less responsible for global warming.

What is reason “Home Automation System” is not much seen in Indian home?

The 4 main reasons of home automation system is not much seen in India are as follows:-

Sounds Expensive:- People thinks that it is expensive but the truth is, it is not. You can customise the automation procedure according to your budget. It is totally up to you that how many appliances you want to automate in your home.

Sounds Complex:- This technology is new and complex to adopt. Most of us thinks that it is hard to setup everything such as configuring the devices, installation process, etc. But, actually it is not hard at all.

Awareness Through Ads:- Home automation is a new topic and most of the people not familiar with it. There are less advertisements in India regarding this topic and most of the people not even aware in India that this type of technology exists.

Our Elders:- Our elders don’t want to accept such kind of technology. Basically, there is a conflict between elders and youngsters on the home automation topic.

Why is automation needed?

Home automation will become the primary choice of every homeowner in the future. These are the 3 simple reasons why you need home automation:-

Energy efficient:- These automated homes or smart homes are energy efficient and helpful to reduce the consumption of electricity.

Ability To Increase Security:- Automated homes are able to increase the security of your home. With the integration of smart devices like motion sensors and door sensors, you can keep your home more safe.

Remote Access:- You can easily track the activities inside your home even if you are miles away.

What are smart home security systems?

smart home security systems are the smart system which gives you flexibility to track every single activity in your home. Also, you can track who is outside your home.

These smart systems have potential to keep your home safe. The motion can be track in your home by the sensors called motion sensors.

And, sensors called door sensors are really helpful to track either someone trying to open or close your door.
Today’s technology have capability to maximise your home security at affordable cost.

Does home automation really save you money?

Yes, there are so many examples that can be given to prove automated homes help humans to save money.
A few examples are mentioned below:-

Remote Access:- If you take a bath and go to your office. After reaching the office you realise that you forgot to tun-off your geyser then automated homes are boon in this situation. You can turn-off your geyser from your office just with a tab on your mobile application. So, you save energy and money both at the same time.

Schedule Your Home:- You can schedule your appliances so they will automatically get turn-on and turn-off on the set timings. You don’t need to manually interact with your appliances. It will reduce your electricity consumption and electricity cost as well.

Security:- You can keep secure your existing money in your home by integrating smart security systems. So, you can save your existing money in your smart home.

How can you make yours home a smart home?

Making your home smart refers to enabling trending technology in your home. You can enable and integrate different types of smart devices to make your home smart. These smart devices are as follows:-

Lights and fans controller:- Smart devices are the devices which are able to control your lights and fans just by simple commands to voice assistants or by using mobile application. This is the most common way to make your home smart.

Smart sensors:- You can you use smart sensors in your home to increase the security of your home. Top 3 sensors are door sensor, motion sensor, gas leak sensor. These three sensors are really helpful to make your home smart and to maximise security.

Set schedules:- You can set schedules on your home appliances and interconnect them to trigger an event when a particular action will happen in your home. This is the best way to see the power of a smart home. A daily scene can be set according to your daily habits.

What qualifies as a “Smart Home”?

A home in which electronic and electric devices can be controlled through mobile application or voice assistant is called smart home.

In simple words, smart homes are the latest technology based homes which can be controlled more conveniently by a homeowner.

A homeowner can use voice assistants to turn-on or turn-off its home appliances by simple verbal commands or by some simple taps on their mobile phone.

Along with this, a homeowner can keep eyes on its home even he is miles away.

What is the future scope of home automation?

Automation is not just a word but a requirement of everyone in the future. Technology made it possible to control your home appliances with the help of mobile application or voice assistants.

People in India are quickly adopting this technology but still, this technology is new for most people.

You can set timers or run schedules on your appliances once you have made them smart, like turning on geyser at 7am automatically or turning on balcony lights at 8pm when it is dark everyday.

These devices will automatically run these commands according to the pre-defined schedules.

This will be a revolution in the future to change simple homes into smart homes to make consumers more comfortable and add convenience to their life.

Home automation will even help make your home secure as homeowners will be notified on their phone about any unusual activity in their smart home.

Also, it will help homeowners to recognise who is ringing their home bell from the comfort of their phone. And, they can even lock and unlock the door according to their preference.

In short, home automation has a huge scope in the future. Everyone will opt for this technology happily because of the energy saving behaviour and more security accessibility features of smart homes.

What is the cost of home automation in India?

Cost of the home automation is depend upon several factors and few of them are listed below:-

Types of devices you want to automate:- Some people prefer to automate low power consuming devices such as lights, bulbs, fans and some people prefer heavy appliances such as AC, geyser, cooler, etc. So, cost to automate your heavy appliances is differentiate to automate low energy consuming appliances.

Number of devices you want to automate:- How much devices you want to automate in your home is another factor which may increase or decrease your cost.

Product Brand:- Product brand is the major factor which affects the cost to automate a home. If you choose the wrong brand then it may make you feel regret in the future because product quality and product price should be equally relevant.

Conclusion
In a nutshell, no one can tell you the exact cost of home automation procedure except the home automation company itself. Because it depends upon the several factors and few of them are mentioned above.

Are indoor home security cameras worthwhile?

Yes, having indoor home security cameras worthwhile. You can get several benefits of monitoring every corner of your own home which are as follows:-

Surveillance For Maids:- If you go out from your home and put all the responsibilities on your maid to take care of everything then trust should be there. If you don’t trust your maid then you need to spy on her. In this case, indoor cameras are really helpful.

Spy On Your Children:- You can spy on your children if you going away from your home to see either your children are safe or not?

They Maximise Security:- You can maximise your security through indoor cameras because you can see view of every room of your home even you’re not at home.

Helpful To Find Belongings:- Sometimes we forget where we left our wallet, keys, etc. In this case, indoor cameras can be your third-eye to find your things.

There are so many other benefits of indoor home security cameras which are not mentioned above.

How effective are home security systems?

Home security systems are effective but, nothing can stop uncertainty of future. Homes with home security systems have less chances to get robbed.

Home security systems are able to notify you when something unusual happen in your home. One ringer on your phone during that uncharacteristic activity in your home can save your home from any theft.

Some sensors like motion sensor, door sensors, gas leak sensors are really helpful to increase the security of your home.

But, your home security also based upon your usage, expectation and types of devices you bought for your security purpose.

Which type of sensors are used in home automation?

The 5 sensors which most of the people commonly use in their daily routine after home automation are as follows:-

Door Sensor:- Door sensor is the most common sensor in use. It is useful to get the alert on your phone when someone forcefully try to open your gate or door.

Motion Sensor:- Motion sensor detects the motion in a particular radius. When motion happens it sends an alert on your phone or can turn-on the light of your particular room or home according to your set events.

Gas Leak Sensor:- Gas leak sensor identify and measures the amount of gases like LPG in the air. If the LPG level reach to a danger level in the air for a human then it sends alert on phone of the homeowner.

Smoke Sensor:- Smoke sensor can detect amount of carbon monoxide in the air. If it reach to a danger level then it sends an alert on the mobile of the homeowner. Basically, it has potential to detect carbon particles in the air.

Smart Thermostat:- These thermostats are capable to measure the temperature and humidity inside or outside the home. Whether you are at home or not these smart thermostats can control heating and cooling system in your home to save your electricity and money. Also, they are helpful to maintain a temperature according to your daily habits.

How do automatic doors work?

Doors become automatic through sensors. Yes, sensors actually sense the motion, pressure, heat, etc to trigger the opening/closing of door when some arises to a door.
There are types of sensors which can be used to make a simple door into automatic one. These sensors are listed below:-

Motion sensors:- Motion sensors detects the motion when someone arises to the door. When moment happens they automatically detect motion and trigger opening/closing of the door.

Weight Sensors:- Basically, weight sensors place under the matt close to the door. When someone comes to the door weight sensors detect the change in weight and send signal to door for opening/closing.

Infrared Sensors:- Infrared sensors detects the change in heat and when someone arises to the door. After identifying the change in heat they trigger the opening/closing of the door.

What is the difference between manual system and automated system?

Manual system:- Manual system refers to manually controlling your home appliances by turning on or off your switches. It requires direct manual human interaction.

Automated system:- Automated system means you can control your home appliances through mobile application or voice assistant. Basically, your devices can talk to each other with the help of cloud server and internet connectivity. In automated system human interaction doesn’t required.

Difference Between Manual System And Automated System
The biggest difference between Manual system and automated system is human interaction. Manual system required human interaction whereas automated systems doesn’t.

How long does it take to install smart home technology?

Installation procedure time depends upon the several factors and two of them are location, product complexity, etc.

Let me elaborate a bit more:-

Location:- Basically, smart devices get attached behind the switch boards to make your existing appliances smart. Now, different locations has different types of wiring styles and sometimes they become hard to understand for an electrician. So, it slow down the installation process.

Product Complexity:- Product design and complexity also matter in the process of installation. If it is hard to understand for the installer then obviously installation process will take time.

Which protocol is working on a home automation system?

Most of the home automation companies use these 4 protocols Zigbee, Z-wave, Wifi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

These are the most common protocols on which smart devices communicate.

Zigbee:- It runs on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Most of the companies use the protocol because of its long-range. It is very secure and uses low power.

Z-wave:- Usually it runs on 908.42 MHz frequency. Z-wave device are known for interoperability.

Wifi:- Wifi is a well-known protocol among people all over the world. And, it makes sense to use wifi in home automation because most of the people know how to use this network.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE):- This is also a well-known protocol and a great option for the devices to communicate which are placed near to each other.

What are the most useless “smart” home devices?

Only your requirements can answer this question. The devices which you really need in your home are necessity but the devices which are not required will be useless for you.

Suppose I don’t have any elder person in my home then a panic button wouldn’t be helpful for me.

Another example is, if I live in my home alone then automating the entire house would be useless because I can’t use all the rooms at the same time. Right?

So, you need to figure out what devices would be in use in your home. Rest devices would be useless for you.

Which smart home device is worth buying?

There is no specific smart home device which can be considered as the best smart device or worth buying product.

Hundreds of smart devices are available in the market but buying worth depends upon some factors and few of them are mentioned below:-

Brand of the smart device:- Brand of the product should have strong goodwill and online reputation.

Potential of the smart device:- What type and which type of appliances can be controlled with that smart device.

Durability of the product:- Guarantee and warranty of a smart device is another crucial factor when you buy a smart device.

Price of a smart device:- Price of a smart device may differ according to different companies. But, price should be matchable with guarantee or warranty and brand reputation.

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