Smart Homes: What They Are and How They Work

Smart Homes: What They Are and How They Work

In an age of dizzying technological advances and amazing automated innovations, it’s daunting to try to keep up with every new development. Technology is supposed to make life easier, not more complex.  But with great change comes challenges and alot of questions. Which smart home system works best for your lifestyle and your budget? What benefits will you receive by implementing a smart home system? How do you tackle the setup process? How does it all work?

iTrust Automation  & Electrical solutions leverages emerging automation standards and platforms to provide an intuitive solution for residential clients of all ages and technical sophistication to use and enjoy. Harnessing the power of products people already know and love, like Apple Homekit®, Amazon Echo® and Google Home®, iTrust delivers exceptional smart home automation and installation. Used at their full potential, these smart home systems allow homeowners to take full control of vital household functions- from temperature, lighting and speaker audio to home security management. *Automation & Electrical solutions are deployed under the care and supervision of a Georgia state licensed electrician.*

What is a Smart Home?

A Smart Home, in a nutshell, is a home connected by a central computerized system that controls a significant number of gadgets and appliances throughout that space. Home Automation is often used interchangeably, though it more specifically relates to items that can be programmed to complete tasks automatically.                                                                                      

Why do I want it?

Personalization- Imagine a world where everything is tailored to you. Lights automatically shining at the perfect brightness, the thermostat always set to a comfortable temperature, music that plays in whatever room you wish- and that’s just the beginning!

Protection- Motion detectors installed by doors and windows can alert you through your smartphone if someone has approached or entered your residence. Smart cameras such as a video doorbell allow you to monitor your place from wherever you are. Make sure every door is locked with smart locks, and even let the kids in when they forget their keys. Keeping your family safe has never been simpler.

Control– At the sound of your voice or with the tap of a screen, every device in your home can potentially be controlled. Turn all the lights off, or lock the house up for the night. Cut the power to any non-essential electric devices to conserve energy.  Program devises to work together, so that when you watch a movie, for example, the lights dim. It truly is the way of the future.

Energy Efficiency- Most smart home hubs employ some type of energy saving options. If a room is flooded with natural light during the day because of a bay window, then you could set the lights to only half brightness. Or the family goes on vacation so the heat is off, but then you remotely turn on the thermostat before you return so it is cozy again. If you like, you can have real-time monitoring of your energy usage or a monthly/quarterly report to see where you could save money and help the environment.

Accessibility- Home Automation is a game changer for people with disabilities and other challenges. A voice-activated interface allows a blind person simply ask for what they need instead of searching all over. People struggling with muscle generative illnesses in the past may have struggled to reach light switches, fire alarms or other important devices but now they can use their phone or table instead. Using sensors, a door can be opened automatically for those that need assistance. Perhaps most importantly, for family members that want to ensure the safety of the elderly in their family, automation allows for a good bit of monitoring for when they can’t be there in person. With Home Automation, a greater measure of independence is possible for so many.

Resale Value- Let’s get real for a second. This generation is glued to their fancy phones and tablets. Many of them cannot go a day without them without experiencing mild withdrawal. So a home that uses their favorite gadgets to control everything should be a major plus. The right smart home technologies can instantly raise the market value of a house. Installing smart thermostats, lighting and security could really impress future buyers, especially if they know that by having these smart devices they could be saving money on energy consumption in the future. 81% of homeowners (who currently live in smart homes) say they are more likely to buy a smart home again. So if you live in a smart home you could also be investing for the future should you decide to move eventually.

How does it work?

Think of a smart home as a person. Brain, arms, legs, nerves, muscles and bones- all working together to support a stable foundation.  A smart home, like a person, senses and processes information in order to react properly to any given situation. This is achieved through different means, such as built-in motion or temperature sensors, as well as gadgets dedicated solely to environmental monitoring. Information detected through these intuitive tools provide an essential frame of reference for basic decisions your smart home will need to make.

Often sensor-based technology will be designed to trigger other features in your home. For example, motion is detected by a sensor inside the front door and that tells the foyer lights to come on, based on pre-determined settings.

Sometimes people tinker with having just a couple automated items in their house, but for an extended, sophisticated setup, a brain (or hub in tech speak) is required. The loose one-function items that do things like turn one light bulb on and off equate to a single-celled organism in the evolutionary chain that is smart technology. To achieve a truly smart home, the smart hub is key.

Smart Hubs

Like a brain, a smart hub controls every part of the system. Ideally, it will integrate every smart technology in the home into a solitary and user-friendly experience, with consolidated controls in a single application.

A traditional hub uses radio frequencies to generate smart home protocols. Companies like Z-Wave and ZigBee use the wireless “languages” of radio frequencies to communicate and then translate that data into a Wi-Fi signal that the router recognizes and then puts to use. Choosing the perfect hub for you is vital because it allows you to organize your smart home before it becomes a confused, tangled spider web of computers and code.

Stand-alone devices and evolving smart home brands like Apple HomeKit®and Amazon Echo® are quickly becoming the new leaders in smart hub technology, however. By uniting behind a software platform such as HomeKit, you can manage devices from a large number of third-party entities through your smartphone and voice control.

Information sources

http://homeoftechnologies.co.uk/7-benefits-of-livi…

https://www.cnet.com/news/smart-home-buying-guide-…