Home Automation (Domotics)

By Aniruddha Mehta, Head Qa-It, Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited

Aniruddha Mehta, Head Qa-It, Alembic Pharmaceuticals LimitedHistory

The 1900s was the advent of washing machines, dishwashers, cloth dryers which were more of laboursaving machines. This was home (more of work) automation for the Xennials and the Millenials.

Networks have brought in a lot of options as well as the expectation of Home Automation.

“Home automation is a step toward what is referred to as the “Internet of Things,” in which everything has an assigned IP address, and can be monitored and accessed remotely.”

Home Automation can be categorized as below

1. Electric and Heating/Cooling Systems e.g. ZigBee automation

2. AI Controlling home devices as well as user preferences e.g. Google Home

3. Robots who would interact with humans e.g Milagrow

Introduct

Home automation is part of "The Internet of Things," also known as IoT. The way devices and appliances can be networked together to provide us with a seamless control over all aspects of your home and more. Home automation has been around for many decades in terms of lighting and simple appliance control. Recently technology caught up with the idea of the interconnected world at the touch of your fingertips or a simple voice command to Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana. The dream of making your home smart is now a reality. Smart Home and home automation are quite interchangeable, in fact, if you research what is a smart home most of the same results will appear.

Home automation has today progressed from large commercial building or expensive homes to every home with DIY options for every automation.

“Home automation is a step toward what is referred to as the “Internet of Things,” in which everything has an assigned IP address, and can be monitored and accessed remotely”

The Automation Frenzy!

Goodnight Google, Lights Out Alexa….

“Alexa wake me up at 5:00 am”, Alexa/Google Home opens up a world of endless possibilities of home automation technologies and techniques. Set up yourion lights to slowly turn on as the sun rises, or when you are due to wake up. If you're feeling fancy, add in a weather forecast.

Anything that can be brought on the network can be automated and remotely controlled. Even your wearable device which monitors your sleep provides your sleep analysis with step counter is Home Automation.

Home automation commonly connects a lot of simple binary devices which is more of “on” and “off” such as lights, power outlets and electronic locks. Even simple monitors such as pets and baby movement monitors.

The intelligent automation is an integration of the binary automation with AI, which enables users to have hardware and software remember choices and provide a personalized output for the users.

With the Alexas and the Siris, there is a total excitement for Home Automation with an approx. of 1.5 million home automation is done in the US in 2016 (initial phase) vs an estimate of 27.7 million by 2023 just in the energy management segment. Smart Home sectors which are growing.

Criticism and Controversies

The closed ecosystem!

In the present scenario, home automation lacks technical standards, where the availability of various automation devices, in terms of both hardware and software running on them, makes it difficult to integrate them easily as well as develop common applications for the available technology ecosystem. Also proprietary software like Alexa, Siri and Google Home make it inconvenient to the users to customize as well as interconnect. This forces users to use the same ecosystem. Vendors also supporting older devices as well as patches for the older versions becoming as the issue for the users.

Expensive technology which would very soon become legacy due to the product/technology maturity curve.

Privacy risk of your conversation being heard by Alexa and Google Home is a big concern amongst users.

The controversies:

1. Alexa recording private conversations

2. Alexa’s advice to kill foster parents

3. Amazon workers listening to your conversations

4. Alexa calls cops on man allegedly beating girlfriend

5. Amazon Echo device recorded a private conversation between her and her husband and sent the recording to an employee of the husband

Conclusion

According to a recent study, after buying one smart product, 70% of those consumers buy another smart product.

This, combined with decreasing prices will help bring even more innovation to the home automation space. Companies will have more capabilities to experiment and improve their product offerings, especially in regards to integration with other smart systems and networks.

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