Whatever tech is used to make a smart home should enhance the user and the home owner experience.
Today, we are increasingly talking about creating ‘Smart Homes’. Smart homes can mean different things to different people. A builder might say that he is offering a ‘Smart Home’ to a prospective buyer if the IP video door phone that he is installing can also be viewed over a smart phone. For an architect, a ‘Smart Home’ could be one, where lighting controls that can be activated manually, on a time clock, remotely or from a house- for one room or for the entire house. A system integrator, selling AV systems could say that he has designed a smart home, where the home owner can view any media content stored in the cloud or locally in the home from anywhere in the home.
So who is right? Or rather, what is the correct meaning of a smart home? For me, there is no right or wrong. A Smart home can be one or all of these things. All of the above could comprise what we call Smart Home technology. One thing however should be common. Whatever technology is used to make a smart home should enhance the user and the home owner experience, making life more convenient and enjoyable! A smart Home could have one or all of the following:
Lighting control systems: Imagine the effect of pressing a button and dramatically changing the lighting ambience and the visual environment in a living space! An easy to use system, a reliable technology and setting the right presets could benefit the end-user.
Motorized shading systems: Increasingly, the idea of manually moving huge curtains and blinds is giving way to the convenience of using a simple press of a button to change the natural light coming into the house, by using motorized shades.
Automation of A/V devices: The ability to control all AV devices from a single touch panel, User-friendly macros, where in a sequence of operations happens every time a button in enabled, assists the user. For e.g. pressing the movie “scene” in a living room could dim lights, turn on the TV, turn on the Amplifier, turn on the Blue Ray player and also draw the curtains etc. all with just one press of the movie button, on your smart phone.
Media distribution, storage and display: With the ever-increasing demands on resolution (4k TV, 8k TV etc.), it is important that we lay the wiring/hardware capable of transmitting the highest resolution in picture and audio possible, at least as of today. Media could be and should be available to be played anywhere in the house, from the cloud or from a local Media server.
HVAC controls: Smart home owners today have the ability to control and monitor the HVAC system in the house. Not only is control possible, monitoring with two-way feedback allows energy saving when certain areas do not need conditioning.
Security Systems: While security systems have existed for a long long time, the smart home has a security system that is integrated with the rest of the house controls. For e.g. when the security system detects an intrusion, it starts flashing the lighting in the entire house on/off. It sends a notification to the home owner phone and scares away a potential intruder.
All of the above systems should be seamlessly available on customer touchpanel/smart home through a customized user interface that is easy to understand and to use. Every electronic device that has a remote is virtually available to the home owner from within or from outside the house. IOT or Internet of things is a term used to suggest connectivity of all such devices via the internet. Today voice recognition and voice commands are being offered to clients as part of the home automation technology. The key however for any home owner would be – Ease of use, and reliability. Remember -The Smart Home should NOT require a home owner to be technologically smart!
by Alok Hada, Director, Anusha Technovision
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