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It’s astonishing how technology has developed, allowing users to automate daily mundanities at home.
For starters, in different rooms of your house, just with the sound of your voice, you can switch lights on or off, or with a touch from your Android or iOS devices, you can latch or unlatch locks of doors in your kitchen, your living room.
And the possibilities of remote control goes on, from entertainment devices, housekeeping, home security, house utilities, even devices to monitor children and pets.
Today, we’ll explore and learn more about Home Automation, also known as Smart Home Technology.
What is Home Automation (or Smart Home Technology)?
Home Automation is the process of submitting the control of components and appliances in your house – to a central, internet connected control hub.
This redirection of control allows the user to operate devices, utilities, appliances remotely.
With this, Smart Homes redefine convenience, opening up the user to a lifestyle of uninterrupted multitasking and comfort.
In the current market, you’d likely have encountered appliances that are labeled as having their own smart home app.
Installing these devices for home use are pretty straightforward, companies of these devices have ensured to keep the installation process simple.
For the most part, in consumer electronics, its as easy as downloading a smart home app to your Android or iOS device, which then redirects users to create an account, allowing them to register their current inventory of devices that can be controlled remotely.
The history of automation brings us back to the Industrial Revolution, in between the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 1900’s automation is most instrumental within the fields of manufacturing and production.
Since the introduction of Electric Power Distribution, washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers have come into existence.
From conveyor belts to cranes, automation evolved to aid factories and production lines, making a widespread distribution of service to economies and societies.
Automation back then is not as consumer-centric as it is today.
Home automation has a global value of USD 5.77 Billion, and with that, more and more companies like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are cashing into design apps, devices, appliances for the benefit of the lifestyle of its consumers.
Benefits of Smart Home Automation
The aim of Home automation is to offer convenience towards the consumer’s lifestyle, security and safety.
Here are a bunch of points that highlights how Home Automation improves the standards of living in the homes of its users
1. Managing all of your home devices from one place.
Being able to keep all of the technology in your home connected through one interface is an enormous improvement to convenience and interactivity.
With these smart devices, all its users will be oriented by its smart home apps on how to use a central app. This allows users to tap into a wide variety of functions and devices throughout their homes, which makes it easier to personalize access to the functionality they truly want.
2. Remote control of home functions and increasing energy efficiency.
The Philippines is known for its hot days and heavy traffic.
In order to be time efficient, with home automation, a house can be scheduled to turn on the AC and preheat a prepared meal in the oven, even during transit coming home from a grocery trip.
Users can also monitor which appliances, lights and other electronics are currently switched on. Home automation can also turn the lights on or off depending if the space is currently inhabited or not.
Having control over the schedules of lights, window shades and ACs, within the day and night makes smart homes energy efficient, no energy wasted.
3. Home management insights.
Home automation systems can keep track of user consumption and trends on how often an appliance or device is used, these insights give a clearer perspective on how energy is used and saved within homes.
This also keeps track of consumption habits over time, giving the users a wider perspective on spending and budgeting to maintain their lifestyle.
4. Maximizing home security.
Incorporating security and surveillance in the smart home network is a massive step up in making users and consumers feel safe in and out of their homes.
Home automation systems can connect security cameras, motion detectors, door locks into one tightly knit security interface. Users can activate and monitor these security measures from a mobile device.
Security alerts on various devices can also be scheduled to monitor activities in real time, whether users are at home or in an office someplace else.
5. Flexibility for new devices and appliances.
When it comes to the installation of new devices, appliances and other technology, smart home systems are flexible.
In the long run of ownership, users will probably add more devices and appliances to their suites or replace older devices, or discover new technology for indoor and outdoor spaces, central home apps can integrate current, future and older devices into control straightforwardly.
Whether the intention of home automation is functional or aesthetic, or if it is to aid the healthy or disabled, the possibilities of stretching personalization is endless.
In the next section, we will discuss the current applications of this technology for home use.
Types of Home Automation Systems and Smart Home Devices
Let’s categorize the types of systems and home devices into the following:
Gives the homeowner a central interface with which all automations may be operated.
There are two types of controllers to choose from, wall mounted controllers usually come with its own proprietary interface, so downloading an app to operate the controller is no longer necessary.
Mobile Device oriented control systems on the other hand, gives the homeowner absolute control and monitoring via smartphone or tablet.
Comfort and Convenience
Indoor Positioning Systems – Keeps track of objects that users want to locate.
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning – This allows climate control to be programmed and scheduled remotely.
Home Automation for the elderly and disabled – Gadgets aimed toward the benefit of the elderly such as health monitors on smartwatches, some home automation systems can also be programmed for 911 assistance should the need arise. For the disabled, home wheelchair support can be programmed for assistance as well.
Home Automation for Pets and Babies – Babies can be kept safe, home automation systems can keep track of young children via house cameras. For Pets, home systems can limit Pet’s access around the house.
Smart Kitchen Appliances -From smart water heaters, coffee makers, smart plugs to smart ovens, these appliances can be scheduled to operate themselves. In some parts of the world, breakfast, lunch and dinner can be fully automated.
Smart Lighting – According to their preferences, lighting can be adjusted into warm or cold as well as increasing or decreasing the gradient of brightness.
Some smart motion detectors can also automatically switch off lights if the space is uninhabited.
Remote Housekeeping Appliances – Smart Vacuums, Smart Air Filters can also be programmed accordingly.
Remote Speakers – Users can assign different music to different speakers throughout their homes via bluetooth or wifi. Speaker volumes can be controlled remotely as well.
Smart TVs – Homeowners can stream content and surf the web from their mobile devices to their smart TVs.
Smart Assistants – The proliferation of Amazon’s Alexa is designed to be a virtual companion for almost anything. From random questions, to playing music, starting an app or online shopping.
Whether the homeowner is using Solar Panels, or on the grid electricity, a household’s energy consumption can be connected to Energy Insight Monitors to keep track of how much and when a household uses the most and least electricity, thereby adjusting the use and consumption of devices to avoid energy wastage.
Safety and Security
Safety Sensors such as smoke detectors, CO2 Sensors, fire and heat sensors can be fully integrated into one smart grid in order to keep your home safe, these can also be programmed to call 911 should the need arise.
CCTV Cameras – Security cameras can be monitored in and out of the house through the homeowner’s mobile device
Smart Locks – Can be utilized to recognize biometrics from fingerprint and cornea recognition. Smart Locks can also be unlatched remotely to let visitors in.
Best Home Automation Devices & Smart Home Products
Now that we’ve covered the different types of home automation devices, here’s a list of product recommendations for the tech savvy Filipino.
Philips Hue Family
Best for: Comfort & Convenience
Imagine coming home to a house where lighting can be orchestrated and programmed from bright, warm daylight to colder, bluer nightlight.
Philips’ Hue Family can also be dimmed or brightened according to your preference. The Hue Family can also be scheduled to switch themselves on or off.
Where to buy Philips Hue Wireless Lighting:
TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip HS300
This smart power strip redefines energy efficiency, say you’re a few rooms apart from the gadgets, devices and appliances plugged in to this power strip, via wifi you can control which of its sockets will remain turned on or off.
Where to Buy TPLink HS300 Smart Powerstrip:
Anova Culinary Precision Wifi
As the name suggests, culinary precision from the comfort of your mobile device. Gone are the days where you have to stand around and watch your cooking closely.
The Anova Culinary Precision Wifi can tell you how long your dish has been cooking while you’re multitasking.
It can also be shut off or turned on remotely. Say, you want to reheat or cook your meal while you’re on your way home, it is now possible with this smart appliance.
Where to buy Anova Culinary Precision Wifi:
Amazon Echo Studio
Best for: Home Entertainment
An inexpensive speaker which delivers a massive dolby atmos quality sound, this speaker can be controlled from your mobile device.
The Amazon Echo Studio can also play audio from different sources and devices which can also be programmed.
Where to buy Amazon Echo Studio:
SimpliSafe Home Security System
Best for: Home Security
Featuring a network of sensors, from C02, water leak detection, heat and smoke sensors, as well as a range of surveillance cameras, all controllable and monitored with one simple interface, Simplisafe Home Security System has got it all figured out for your home’s preventive maintenance and your absolute peace of mind.
Where to buy SimpliSafe Home Security System:
The Nest Hello is a smart doorbell that also acts as a CCTV which captures footage and recognizes the faces of people ringing on your door.
Where to buy Nest Hello:
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
Gone are the days where you suffer anxious moments when you can’t recall whether you’ve locked the door or left it unlatched after leaving home.
The August Smart Lock Pro +Connect can be operated from your mobile device. Left your keys inside your room and got locked out? Not a problem anymore, since you can unlatch the lock from your mobile device.
Where to buy August Smart Lock Pro:
Logitech Harmony Elite
Best for: Hubs & Controllers
For the more traditional homeowner who likes the presence of buttons on their controllers.
Logitech Harmony Elite also comes with a tiny touchscreen interface, like a mobile device and a remote control spliced into one package.
Where to buy Logitech Harmony Elite:
Belkin WeMo Insight
Best for: Energy Efficiency
This device monitors your power usage, which appliances are used the most throughout the day.
Having this energy monitor depicts how you consume your electricity on a daily basis, and it sets forth an energy plan based on your usage trends so as to keep your home as energy efficient as possible without wasting electricity.
Where to Buy Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug: