Managing household appliances from a computer or a smartphone: Home automation, a technology at the crossroads of electronics, IT and telecommunications, can be fully integrated into the daily lives of individuals. What are the practical applications, benefits, and cost of home automation?
What is Home Automation?
Home automation refers to the electronics , computing and telecommunications technology that allow programming, automate and improve routine tasks within a home.
It is based on the networking of many electrical devices that can be managed centrally:
- Garage door
- Heating, ventilation,
- Security and monitoring (alarm) systems
- Automatic garden watering system
- Appliances: coffee, dryer, etc..
- Multimedia devices: computers, tablets, TV, etc..
Virtually all electrical home appliances can be controlled or programmed through home automation.
Home automation has three main advantages:
- Home comfort: by centralizing access and management of household appliances.
- Time saving: automating routines and repetitive tasks which otherwise requiring manual programming.
- Energy management: adjusting your heating system, or consumption, closer to your real needs.
- Safety: protect yourself against intrusion.
Three key elements in a home automation system
- The control system/control interface: a monitor,computer, or smartphone,
- Transmission mode: wired connections (e.g Ethernet), radio waves, infra-red, etc..
- The devices: a lamp or a heater, compatible with the transmission mode and connected to the control system.
Installing a home automation system: what are the costs?
The cost depends on the complexity of the system and the size of the house: some users only require a specific application, such as the ability to remotely control lighting system. The cost ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Please note: You can establish a small home automation system by yourself. It is relatively inexpensive, but requires some technical knowledge.
Mobile applications to control your remote devices
- Nowadays, mobility is a fully integrated component for automation systems.
- Mobile users can use their smartphone as a control system. For ease of use, automation vendors offers mobile versions of the control systems they develop.
- Among these mobile apps available (for iPhone):