2018 looks set to be a watershed year in the adoption of smart home technology as a host of appliances, smart speakers and new technology hits the market.
If you’re considering transforming your house into a smart home in the New Year, here’s what you need to know.
Smart Home technology relies on an ecosystem of items that seamlessly interact via the Internet of Things. Sounds complicated? It’s not. Basically, this means that smart home components talk to each other in much the same way your computer wirelessly connects to your printer over the household Wi-Fi connection or your tablet plays music on your Bluetooth speaker.
Together, these elements allow you to run your home intuitively, programming items to turn off or on automatically, at the push of a button on a tablet, remotely from your mobile phone, or via voice command.
Smart Homes comprise a series of components. These include:
The internet and associated Wi-Fi is the backbone behind how most products within a smart home chat. Products have their own IP (Internet Protocol) address that allows them to identify and talk with each other.
So, if you have a smart printer, your home internet network identifies it by its address and connects it to other items like your computer, phone and tablet via Wi-Fi. Most smart home products interact in the same way and this is the underlying principle behind the Internet of Things.
Smart homes run through a central gateway, much like the router already in your home. This facilitates the communication between appliances and other smart products.
Many smart home products have a sensor which tells you what state an item is in. Sensors allow you to gauge the temperature of your home, whether an appliance is on or off, or whether a door is locked or unlocked.
Modules are the elements of a smart home which allow you to take action. These are the mechanisms that enable items to operate via switches, dimmers and controls.
Modules can turn lights on or off, shut off power to a power point or switch on an appliance. They can be programmed to operate automatically and perform set tasks or can be prompted to take action by your phone, tablet or voice command.
Since the recent announcement Amazon Echo will be available in Australia from early next year, voice activators have been receiving a lot of attention. Basically, voice activators connect to your smart home network and allow you to command areas of your home to do things.
Voice activators usually spring into action at the mention of their name. If you’re using Google Home, you say “Google, please turn off the lights”. If you use Apple HomeKit, the command would “Siri, please shut the garage door”, and if it’s Amazon Echo, you would say “Alexa, lock the front door”.
Examples of how it all comes together
Say you like your house to be a comfortable 24 degrees over the hot summer months. The smart home is here to assist. Sensors in the house relay information about the current temperature. A module receives this information and automatically starts the air conditioner. You can further program this to only occur when you are home, to only start the air-con at certain hours of the day, and you can monitor your electricity consumption throughout.
While busy at work you receive an alert on your mobile phone telling you someone’s at the front door of your home. You can see via the house camera it’s you mother, and she tells you she was hoping to drop off a freshly-baked cake. By smartphone you tell your home to open the front door and allow her in. The door then automatically locks as she leaves.
It’s a weekend afternoon and the kids are busy outside playing on the trampoline as the sun steadily sets on a warm summer’s day. It’s getting dark but the fun they’re having encourages you to allow them play on a little bit longer. To make them more comfortable you command your voice activator, “(name), please turn on the garden lights”.
All the elements of a smart home allow life to be just that much easier, secure and intuitive, but the true art of connecting a smart home comes down to the installation. Professional installation ensures all your smart home components seamlessly interact in the most efficient possible way.
At Lera Smart Home Solutions we draw on decades of IT experience to design, create and install smart home solutions that cater to our client’s needs and requirements.
Our solutions utilise the latest technology to easily turn your existing or brand-new home into a state-of-the-art smart home, using the existing wiring in house.
Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.
We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.