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.