The definition of Automation:
A mechanical device, operated electronically, that functions automatically, without continuous input from an operator.
Everyday we are exposed to marketing trying to sell us new products that can function from our phone, tablet or computer. These innovative products are very cool indeed. Thermostats that you can control remotely, music that can stream wirelessly through speakers in your ceiling or walls, alarm systems that you can arm or disarm from wherever you are…all very good but let’s understand one important thing; this is not Smart Home Automation. This is remote access and although it can be very handy, it is very much as simple as it sounds.
If we take the definition of automation above, we can better understand what Smart Home Automation really is and what truly makes it smart. It starts with the basics of remote access, but the real value is not in controlling your home from afar. The true worth Home Automation is realized when one event triggers another and another to accomplish something where the sum is greater than the parts – and it all happens for you…not by you.
For our first example, let’s look at what happens currently in the event of a fire in your home. Your smoke detector goes off and triggers the alarm system to send a message to your monitoring centre. They, in turn, alert 911 to dispatch the first responders.
In a Smart Home, your smoke detector will go off and do all of the above, but it will also alert you in case you are not at home so that you can react. It can be programmed to shut off your furnace fan to slow the spread of the fire, turn your lights on to full bright to light a path to help anyone inside the house find their way to safety, and set the outside lights to flash on and off, alerting neighbours to the fact that there is trouble and helping first responders identify which house is in crisis. A series of events that happen automatically, which can actually save a life…now that is smart!
In a second example, you are away on vacation and your flood detector goes off when the laundry room pipes freeze and burst. You’re enjoying a Pina Colada until your phone alerts you to the fact that your house is flooding. You’re thousands of miles away while the water level in your home is rising and causing more and more damage every minute.
With a home automation system, you can rest easy knowing that your flood detector triggered a water-main shut off valve which automatically turned off the main water into your home, stopping the flood and minimizing the damage. Not only did you just save your home and its contents, you also bought yourself time to deal with this crisis.
In our third example, you are waking up the family for work and school on a typical weekday morning. Your clock-radio jolts you up and you get out of bed. Your switch on the lights and slam your eyes shut until they adjust to the light. Then you go from room to room waking your children and nudging them out of bed so that they are not late for school. After you are dressed you wake your kids again and put on the morning news while you get the family through breakfast and out the door.
With a smart home environment, your alarm music slowly increases to the right volume so that you wake up to the sound of music without the jolt. The music plays throughout a variety of zones in the house, which will wake everyone at the same time. The lights can be set to come on to 10% so that your eyes can see without being blinded. Five minutes later the lights brighten further so that you can get to up and dressed without lifting a finger or having to wake anyone else. Fifteen minutes later the music shuts off, the kitchen lights come on to a morning scene, the blinds open and the TV comes on to your favourite news channel. Your focus is on your day…nothing else matters because it’s being done for you. As soon as you leave the house and lock the door, the temperature adjusts, the blinds adjust, the lights go out, the TV shuts off and you are on your way to work and saving energy at the same time. What a great way to start your day!
The ways that Home Automation can enhance your life really depend on you; because a good system is built around what’s important to you. It’s definitely not a one size fits all scenario. Remote access is a nice feature but a truly smart home actually makes your life easier. That’s why we call it SMART!
Home Automation is now affordable and it can be designed in stages so that you can expand your features down the road as wants/needs change.
Want to know more? Call or email the Guru and we’ll design a Smart Home for you too.