A Quick Guide To Getting Started With Home Automation

Home automation is a fairly new development, but when you have the ability to seamlessly integrate all of your devices – why wouldn’t you?

There are so many things that you can automate nowadays, it’s hard to know where to start. This guide is intended to help you get setup, and introduce you to some of the more simple home automation possibilities available.

At the end of this post, I’ve included a handy infographic to give you some more information. (Original post)

Ok, so what is home automation?

Home automation is the practice of using various electronic devices in your home to make your life easier. For example, you could set all your lights to turn off at a certain time at night, i.e. when you regularly go to bed. Maybe you want to keep your kids off the wifi after hours – well you could automate rules for your router too – the possibilities are endless!

The popularity of home automation was spawned by the success of the “Internet of Things“. The IoT (for short) is basically a reference to the fact that all of these “things” (devices) connect to the internet to complete tasks, but use the internet in a completely different way to how you or I would.

That about sums it up, so let’s talk about how you can use home automation.

Controlling Lighting

I just mentioned it, but you can use home automation to control the lighting in your house. As I mentioned, you can schedule lights to go on or off, and even control them by each individual bulb.

Bulbs like the Philips Hue range, also allow you to also control the color of the light your bulbs emit – that’s pretty cool!

You can control devices from your smartphone, or you can also use services such as IFTTT to setup automated rules for your devices.

Security

You can do simple things like control security cameras and view live streams or recordings, but you can also connect to many modern security systems that will send you notifications on your smartphone.

Everyone can relax a little more, knowing that when they’re away from home, everything and everyone is safe and sound. I live in a nice (enough) neighbourhood so I’m not too concerned, but honestly I use my home cameras to do silly things like double check that I didn’t leave the oven on – trust me, that’s a life saver when you’re already an hour into a road trip and suddenly panic on the highway!

I also use my cameras to keep tabs on my pets while I’m at work – the cameras I use have two-way audio, so I can give them a “good dogs” or “bad dogs” as applicable.

Climate Control

Every household fights over the heating and cooling – right? By automating your thermostat, you can win the battle and ensure your entire family is comfortable.

You can control most modern smart thermostats from your smartphone, and complete tasks such as changing the room temperature from the comfort of your couch, or upping the temperature on those chilly winter mornings before getting out of bed.

This one has also come in handy when heading out on a road trip – we don’t need to heat the house when there’s no one in it! It’s nice to save a few dollars on that bill.

Conclusion

This was just a quick summary of home automation and a few of the things you can do with it.

What do you think? Are you going to try to setup any of these systems?

I’ll be back soon with more advice!

A Guide to Home Automation

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Home Automation Start Up Developments and Companies

Most people are now familiar with home automation systems. We heard initially a few years ago about voice-activated home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, which are now commonplace and which many people are now embracing.

However, the lightning speed of their creation and adoption of these internet connected home device systems has taken many people by surprise.

The sheer plethora of systems and devices that offer home automation takes some keeping up with. Known to most people as The Internet of Things (IoT), these devices and systems are designed with not just automation in mind but also remote control, security and easy living.

The most obvious IoT devices, and one of the earliest innovations, are controllers for your home utilities, i.e. heating and water. Just a few years ago it would be considered science fiction to have the ability, through a smartphone or device, to be able to alter the heating settings of your home. There are now systems that will even run a bath to the right temperature, ready right when you get home (happy wife, happy automated life).

Lighting systems are also a very popular home automation device. Again, lighting can be controlled remotely, that’s pretty straight forward now, but most systems have mood and colour settings. For example, you may want to arrive home to bright crisp blue lighting then change the mood later in the evening into a warm comforting glow to relax in.

TV and audio systems were one of the early IoT devices and most people watch tv and consume music via the internet nowadays. You can only imagine that people of a certain (youthful) age would not even understand what a TV antenna actually does.

That being said, many people still consider home automation to be in its infancy. Gathering home devices together and allowing them to interact and communicate together has many benefits beyond comfort and convenience.

Consider heating and lighting combines with the closing of curtains and blinds at night for increases insulation and efficiency. But think also about home security systems. Automatic smart locking systems for homes, and surveillance systems. Already these devices are internet connected and can be accessed and monitored remotely.

Automated home cooking devices are starting to gain popularity with recent introductions including coffee machines, grills and cookers, and even brewing and drinks machines. Smart fridges are available that monitor contents as they are loaded then used and can send out automated shopping lists to mobile phones when stocks become low. There are even smart internet connected vacuum cleaners available for cutting edge consumers!

Hubs and control devices in the home manage all of these devices and, whilst intuitive and easy to use, the acceleration of the introduction of these devices is taking some keeping up with.

Where will these systems end? The opportunities are as broad as people’s imagination. Anything that can be automated and controlled remotely can become an IoT home connected device in the near future.

New home automation start-up companies are maximising opportunities to satiate the increasing demand for IoT devices and are embracing the new ideas and technologies that ease people lives, increase efficiencies as well as offering something that, just a few years ago would be considered Star Trek, not Salford.

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