Safety is a feature of the smart home that many people actively seek, and when you put it in perspective it’s an investment that can pay off in ways you never dreamed of.
From sensors that alert people to fire to voice activated emergency calls, the smart home can potentially save lives.
Here’s an insight into how…
Fire and emergencies
In NSW alone, fire authorities attend 4500 house fires every year with their statistics further indicating over half of these start in the kitchen due to cooking that is left unattended.
In addition, almost 40 per cent of house fires are caused by electrical faults, while heaters, candles and cigarettes are also common causes.
NSW Fire and Rescue goes on to further explain residents are more than twice as likely to die in a house fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm installed.
With its ability to monitor and alert occupants to potential danger, the smart home has the potential to reduce these frightening statistics.
How it works
Smart home technology relies on the use of sensors to monitor the state of the home environment and respond accordingly by command or automation.
Featuring a range of available sensors such as smoke alarms and CO alarms, the smart home not only sets off an audible alarm when smoke or CO is present but can alert residents to an emergency via the smart home app on their phone or mobile device.
Importantly, when installed with other smart home components, these alerts can also allow the home owner to take action.
Say for example a pot boils over on the stove. The smoke alarm can quickly alert you to the threat, with an audible alarm in the home and an emergency alert sent directly to your mobile.
The home owner can then initiate a response like the following, using their mobile device or smart home control panel:
- Shut down the stovetop
- Activate emergency lighting that directs occupants to the safest path of exit
- Activate in-home ventilation to clear smoke
- Start the range hood exhaust fan
- Set off the installed sprinkler system, if required
- View the scene unfolding using in-home cameras
- Store data in the Cloud should it be required for the further investigation or insurance purposes.
The smoke sensor is a smoke detector, fire alarm and temperature gauge all rolled into one. It informs home owners of a potential fire through an alert sent directly to a smart phone or tablet, while also activating an audible alarm.
Integrated with other areas of the Fibaro system, the smoke sensor can perform advanced scenes like shutting down appliances, opening ventilation or activating emergency lighting.
The sensitivity of the sensor can be adjusted to suit the purpose and use of each room, so, for example in bedrooms it might have high sensitivity to smoke, while in the kitchen smoke sensitivity can be decreased.
Similar to the smoke sensor, the CO sensor monitors and alerts home occupants to the invisible threat of carbon monoxide. It can be connected to the wider ecosystem, allowing it to take action and open windows or doors, or can act as a stand-alone CO alarm.
Emergency lighting is just one application of automated lighting within the smart home. It can be set up to come on automatically in response to an emergency situation like the smoke sensor activating or can operate on command.
Emergency lighting sees lighting change colour and brightness and direct occupants safely from the home.
Statistics indicate a home in Australia is broken into roughly every three minutes, but the good news is the automated home can alleviate that threat.
With the ability to remotely monitor your home, lock it and detect who’s doing what, when, smart technology takes the ability to secure your home to a whole new level.
How it works
Using a combination of motion sensors, automated lighting and smart locking, the automated home offers the ability to keep a watchful eye on your home and be alerted to any threats. Importantly, with features like smart doorbells and smart locks, you can also lock or unlock your home remotely.
Say for example someone approaches your front door…the smart doorbell sends an immediate alert that someone’s at the door. You can see who that person is courtesy of the camera, speak with them using the intercom and grant them entry remotely if you choose.
Meanwhile, motion sensors positioned internally and externally around the home also allow you to be alerted to movement and activity in other areas. These sensors can also be connected to CCTV to record activity and can activate lighting, so security lighting comes on when motion is detected.
Couple this with security alarms and you have the ability to comprehensively monitor you home environment. You can also record events and remotely lock doors and windows. You can also establish set routines so your doors and windows automatically lock as you leave home.
Motion sensors and CCTV
Able to be positioned anywhere, motion sensors can alert you to movement inside or outside the house, and allow you to take action if activity is of concern.
That means you can track movement in your lounge room or even garden, and potentially record exactly what’s happening.
Security lighting is connected to sensors so it can automatically activate when it senses motion. Its sensitivity can be adjusted so it can distinguish between normal motion like the neighbourhood cat and more concerning activity such as an intruder.
The smart doorbell offers a wealth of benefits when it comes to protecting the home. Options like Fibaro include an immediate alert that someone’s at the door along with the ability to speak to them. You can also see by camera exactly who’s there and grant them entry remotely if you choose.
Door and window sensors
Door and window sensors allow you to ascertain whether something is open, closed or being tampered with. As part of a greater security system that means an alarm will sound if someone is trying to gain entry.
If you happen to accidentally leave something open as you exit the home, door and window sensors allow you to see what’s open and what’s not from your app, and command it to close.
Most break-ins occur when the home owner is away, with vacant properties renowned for their vulnerability. Automated lighting and scenes allow you to switch lighting on whenever you want and involve other appliances like televisions as well.
You can program a lighting sequence that varies each day, play music, switch on the TV, or even manually switch on lights from afar. The upshot is your home can behave exactly the same way it would if you were in attendance.
The elderly and those with disabilities
There’s been a lot of focus recently on the benefits that home automation can offer people with mobility problems and disabilities, with many support organisations noting smart home technology can offer greater independence.
And it happens in two ways – through the use of sensors and monitoring that can alert carers, families and emergency services to a problem, and through automation that simplifies daily tasks.
How it works
In the smart home simple daily tasks can be automated, so lights can switch on as part of a routine, and appliances can operate at the push of a smart phone button or as part of a sequence.
People with mobility problems can also answer their door from the comfort of their loungeroom using smart doorbells.
Meanwhile, more and more services are being automated. For example, this year’s CES showcased bathtubs that can be programmed to start running at the perfect temperature via voice command and stop running when a sensor detects the water has reached a specific level.
Similarly, sensors can also be used to alert people to a problem in the home. There are already floor sensors in existence that can alert caregivers and emergency services when a home occupant falls and doesn’t get up, while smart speakers have the potential to allow the elderly or infirmed to call family and friends for help.
Voice activation has a range of benefits for the elderly or those with a disability. It can allow them to control features of their home by voice, or even create a shopping list, and check their calendar or the news.
It can also be used to call people for assistance.
With smart doorbells, answering the front door can be as simple as checking a mobile phone or tablet to see who’s knocking, speak to them if required, and then permit them to gain entry if you choose.
Lighting can be programmed to work in scenes or by sensors, which means lights can turn on when the home detects someone is entering a specific room or exiting the bed.
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. You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home here, or contact us directly for further advice.