What is a Smart Home and How Can Home Automation Solutions Help You?
Apr 18, 2018
Home automation solutions are no longer the ideas of science fiction. These intelligent home systems can save you hundreds of dollars through energy conservation, and they can provide state-of-the-art security to protect your home and the loved ones inside of it.
What is A Smart Home?
A smart home is equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone, computer, or voice. Consider the benefits: you never have to worry about running home to open the door for your children after school or wonder if you remembered to turn off the lights. You can easily control the situation through your phone.
Standard automations include lights, door locks, thermostats, security products, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and cameras, but there are tons of other options. Thanks to the recent boom of tech-enabled consumer products, you can automate everything from brewing your coffee to feeding your pets.
What is Home Automation?
A home automation solution is a platform on which your devices, appliances, and electronic devices are networked together to give you the ability to control them in a way that best fits your lifestyle.
Home automation systems can be wired or wireless, and there are numerous home automation protocols available, including UPX, X10, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more. Some of these protocols use radio waves to communicate, while others use your home’s existing power lines. Some home automation protocols are built on open standards, so any manufacturer can create products that will work with it.
There are pros and cons to every system, but the single, largest downside to a wired home automation solution is that it’s controlled from one central location.
With the mobile world we live in today, wireless systems are the go-to for home automation and security solutions and what the technology developers and manufacturers are putting the most emphasis on. The key to ensuring reliability and security is careful planning. You must be strategic about designing your system from the get-go to end up with a smart home that works for you.
Professional installers are vital in helping you develop a plan for what you want to automate and how your appliances and devices should communicate with one another.
For instance, when you leave your home for the day and set your security alarm, do you also want the lights turned off, and the thermostat turned down? If you are at work during the day and you need to let a repairman in, do you want security cameras in your house to turn on and the front door to unlock? When you are at home, do you want to be able to turn off lights downstairs and turn on your security system using voice commands from the comfort of your own bed?
Other important considerations for home automation installation is a careful site analysis of your home. Thick glass or concrete walls in certain parts of the property can block signals. Are there physical barriers on your property that must be considered? What is the range the signals must travel? What are the data rates required?
The Most Common Smart Home Solutions
The most common smart home solutions include lights, door locks, thermostats, and security products, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and cameras.
With lighting, there are many options to consider. You can have bulbs with built-in microphones that automatically turn on if they hear your doorbell or burglar alarm. There are bulbs that can put out invisible infrared light during the night to enable night vision cameras in your home to see further. Voice-activated lighting is extremely popular, and there are even lighting options that are just plain cool, such as lights that change color in rhythm to the music you’re playing. Rock on!
Smart door locks also offer a host of features. You can lock and unlock your door remotely, even if you’re halfway around the world. You can give digital keys or assign codes to friends or family who regularly access your home. You can even set time limits on these codes, so they only work during specific hours of the day or days of the week. Hands full of groceries? Perhaps you want your door to unlock automatically when it senses your key within a certain radius of the door. There are smart locks that can fit over your existing deadbolts, locks with keypads, locks with app-enabled entry, and even smart locks that still allow you to use your key.
Heating, ventilating, and cooling our homes is critical for comfort but also accounts for a large portion of our living expenses. Today, smart HVAC technology means you can have the best of both worlds. Smart HVAC goes far beyond what the programmable thermostat can do. If integrated into a home automation solution, it can adjust the temperature settings based on your alarm. Or, if you choose geofencing technology, it can sense whether you are home and adjust accordingly. There are even sensors so sophisticated now that you can be alerted if your hot water tank starts to leak or a water line in your home breaks. Talk about peace of mind if you’re gone for an extended time!
Finally, how many of us have had the experience at least once in our lives of being hundreds of miles away on vacation and suddenly feeling a pit form in our stomachs because we’re pretty sure we left the back door unlocked? Worry no more because security automation is smarter than ever. Home security is one of the primary reasons people choose a home automation solution. Not only can you lock and unlock doors from your mobile device, but you can also choose to install security cameras, so you can log in at any time to get a live feed from your home. If someone knocks on the front door or rings the doorbell, automate an alert sent to your phone. You can even see who is on your doorstep and talk to that person from anywhere.
As you can see, a smart home can make your life much easier, but proper home automation installation is critical for building a smart home that fits your lifestyle.
Are you ready for the future? If so, making life easier through technology is our goal at FSS. Let us help walk you through the possibilities for your home automation solution.