Home automation systems offer the potential to make your home more comfortable, efficient and secure. Also known as domotics (from Latin domus, meaning home) or smart home technology it allows you to monitor and control your appliances, lighting, heating, cooling and more via the internet or a dedicated app. It can reduce energy waste, keep your property and family safe and even help you to save time.
There are many different home automation technologies on the market but the basic building blocks are similar. They all consist of a central controller, sensors that tell you what is happening (motion, door opening, temperature etc) and actuators that make things happen (turn on a light, lower the blinds, turn off the TV). Most systems will also integrate with digital personal assistants (Alexa, Ok Google or Siri on your phone) to enable voice activated control.
When the system detects you are within range of your home it can trigger other devices to action – as you approach the house it can switch on the lights, raise the heating to a pre-set level and start playing your favourite calming music to prepare you for arrival. It can also alert your security system to turn on the cameras and even raise the alarm if necessary.
A home automation system can also manage your energy use, enabling you to set hourly programmes to ration the electricity being used by the Smart devices or automatically disconnect plugs when they are not in use. It can also create reports and analysis of your usage to help you cut your energy costs further.
The key benefit of a home automation system is that it makes your life easier. By automating those little tasks, you can free up your time to do the things that are most important to you.
It can help you to relax when you arrive at home, or save you time in the morning by turning on the lights and raising the heating before your family wake up, or it can alert you when someone is trying to break in and even flash the lights if needed so that anyone who is trespassing on your property will be visible.
Although most people don’t have the budget to install a comprehensive top-to-bottom Home Automation system it is possible to automate your home starting with just one or two Smart devices. By using systems that support the recognised standard wireless technologies of Z-Wave, Zigbee and WiFi you will be able to add more devices as funds become available. By using these common technologies you will be able to build your system into a coherent whole and you can be sure that it will work with any other device that supports the same technology. This is called interoperability.