Home automation is closer than you think
If you’ve invested in a home security system, you may not realize that you’ve already taken the first steps to automating your home.
Today, there’s more and more interest in home automation or the smart home as it’s also known. The possibilities are endless — from controlling your lighting, heating or music to automatically ordering food when your freezer supplies run low. And, you don’t have to be home to do it.
This is no longer science fiction or something for rich people or technology geeks — you have the technology! And, you’ll find that home automation isn’t just convenient. It can save you time, energy and money, and make your home safer.
From Home Appliances to Smart Homes
So, how did we get here? It’s a long way from the first home appliances in the early twentieth century. Imagine homes without refrigerators, washing machines or microwaves!
Today, we take those appliances for granted, as well as environmental improvements like central heating or air conditioning. But, we still had to control them and that’s where the appeal of home automation comes in.
Despite the lack of practical solutions, the idea of home automation has been around for a long time. The concept first saw light at the 1930 World Fair in New York and people were fascinated. But, it wasn’t until the 1950’s and 60’s that the idea became practical, thanks mainly to two new technologies – the computer chip and the Internet.
During the 1980’s, automation technologies found their way into domestic use — automatic garage doors, home security systems, devices to turn lights on and off. Then, in 1984, the term ‘smart home’ made its first appearance.
Technology Gets Connected — and Affordable
The late 1990’s and early 2000’s saw home automation becoming more popular. Manufacturers and retailers recognized the potential, offering products that were practical and affordable.
The next important change was the development of home networking and its bigger relative, the Internet of Things. Now it was possible to connect automation devices together and control them centrally from a home computer, ideally over a wireless network. Add the growing capabilities of smartphones and homeowners have the ability to control the home, anytime from anywhere.
The technology giants also saw big opportunities, introducing smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Echo or Google’s Home Hub. That has helped to raise awareness of the possibilities of home automation as a realistic option.
As a result, home automation is becoming big business. Global sales of home automation products hit $17.48 billion in 2016 and that’s forecast to continue growing. In 2016, home security products took the largest proportion of sales – just over a quarter – but smart home products are expected to take over as the main purchase, particularly in developed countries in Europe and North America.
Time to Get Automated
Now that home automation is a mainstream technology, how easy is it to make your home smarter and what sort of benefits can you expect?
Cost saving and convenience top the list of potential benefits. Automatically turning lights on and off only when you need them, or adjusting heating and air conditioning in line with temperatures can make big savings on your energy bills. And, switching on lights and closing blinds at set times can improve security, particularly if you’re away from home.
Okay, home automation is not a weekend do-it-yourself project, but there are plenty of experienced specialists who can give you advice on the best system for your home. They will help you select the functions you want to automate and install your system.
The good news is that, if you have a home security system controlled from a device like the Eldes Hybrid alarm control panel, you already have the basis for home automation.
A Smarter Home
This type of panel doesn’t just control your security system, it allows you to add smart home functions. Coupled with the right devices and a wireless home network, you’ll be able to remotely monitor and control temperature and energy consumption, switch electrical appliances, and automate other functions.
This is a brief list of the many common functions your home automation system could manage.
- Switch heating on if temperature falls pre-set level.
- Switch off when it rises pre-set level.
- Turn air conditioning on or off if temperature reaches pre-set levels.
- Turn on indoor lights at a preset time.
- Control lights in line with ‘holiday settings’.
- Turn indoor lights in specific rooms off if no occupants.
- Turn outdoor lights on for estimated time of arrival.
- Turn outdoor lights on if alarm is activated or motion detected.
Automated alerts and actions
- Close garage door if accidentally left open.
- Detect leaks, issue alert and shut off water or gas supply.
- Issue security alerts if intrusion detected.
Shutters and window control
- Open or close shutters and curtains at pre-set times or ‘holiday settings’.
- Close windows if temperatures fall below pre-set levels.
There are many different ways to control your home automation system, and they’re all easy. As well as using the control panel manually, you can manage your system from a tablet or laptop, smartphone app, or SMS message.
The systems also give you the flexibility to control different functions by time of day, specified events, temperature or zone. In short, you are in total control!