Smart Homes: Changing The Way We Live

By Krishnan Kutty, General Manager - Information Technology At Gammon Engineers And Contractors Pvt. Ltd

Krishnan Kutty, General Manager - Information Technology At Gammon Engineers And Contractors Pvt. LtdHome automation in other words known as ‘Smart Home’ is changing the way we live. Most of us would have experienced the flavour of Smart Homes in some way or the other. Be it in home entertainment or convenience or home safety or energy efficiency, home automation solutions has surely delivered a superior level of user experience. With the advent of products like Amazon Echo(fondly known as ‘Alexa’) and Google Home, the home entertainment segment got a vital shot in the arm. The WiFi technology has made the integration between smart speakers and other home appliances easier and has made the life easier for a user, as the connected devices can be operated and controlled using voice commands. For some users, while it may be the automation of devices like wifi-thermostats, locks, safety sensors, cctv cameras and lighting solutions that provide the better experience, others feel happy about using mobile based assistants or smart speakers to prepare shopping lists, checking weather or latest news.

Safety: These days, high end homes are being done with IoT to enhance safety. Imagine sensors placed at strategic locations alert you when there’s water leakage? A home owner sitting at a remote location could take preventive steps, using smartphone app, to avoid a possible short-circuit and fire resulting from this. Such sensors could also be configured to trigger release of fire suppressants automatically. Another use of IoT in smart homes is to alert the owner when there is a visitor in the compound while the occupants are away. Sitting remotely, one could open an app and view the CCTV camera footage.Working couples are finding this technology useful to keep a watch on their kids or elderly parents who are kept under the care of servants at home. It is truly a blessing as they get automatic alerts when their kids are back from school or when unusual physical activities are observed on a bedridden senior citizen. Alert or raising an alarm when a forced entry into home is identified and turning all lights on automatically inside the house and compound will surely make it safe and provide peace of mind to the residents who can enjoy their vacation without worry.

“The WiFi technology has made the integration between smart speakers and other home appliances easier and has made the life easier for a user as the connected devices can be operated and controlled using voice commands”

Convenience: We are used to the remote control to operate TV, music system, air conditioner etc. The remote has helped us to sit at one place and control these devices. IoT has taken this convenience to the next level and made it possible for us to control the system using smart phone, smart watch or even voice commands. With the smart home automation solutions, the fun is not just in controlling the devices but taking the experience and convenience to even higher level. These solutions help in controlling lighting and creating a mood suited for the occasion, creating a smart decor, adjusting the window blinds according to the amount of light that need to enter the home etc.

Smart home solutions are making our daily life easier. Right from waking up with an alarm from Amazon Echo, within seconds bedroom and bathroom lights turning on automatically and the geyser getting ready to dispense water at the temperature of our liking are ways in which smart home solutions touch our lives. With Machine Learning, these devices learn the habits and preferences of users and accordingly, start delivering the services thus taking the experience to the next level.

Entertainment: After a tiring day at office, while returning home, sitting in your car, you may wish to turn on the lighting in your living room to the ambience of your liking, start your favourite channel or play your favourite music. Well, now this is possible with mix of API enabled entertainment systems,smart switches and applications with the help of internet. Without getting up from the bed or sofa, one can now play the music of their choice or watch the channel of their preference. While listening to music or a speech when one need to move to another room, we may pause the music, come back and then continue playing. Well that’s the thing of the past. Now, you can make music follow you inside your home so that you can continue listening whether you are in the living room, corridor or kitchen.

Cost efficiency: It is not just entertainment, convenience or safety that is aided by home automation, there’s a potential saving that can accrue using intelligent home automation systems. Like a motion sensor camera that start recording once motion of an object is detected, thus saving the storage space, lighting can also be turned on when someone walks in and turned off when the person walks out. With this, there’ll be significant amount of energy saving that in turn will help reduce the energy bills. Similarly, thermostats and intelligent controlling mechanism can be used to control water heater temperature to avoid overheating and wastage of energy.

Conclusion:

In the near future, we may expect a surge in usage of smart devices for home entertainment as the cost of such products are well within the limits of an average household. As a consequence, we could also see the entertainment content creators developing channels for delivery thru such smart media. In the near future, we could see Robots doing house cleaning as well as manning the security of the house. Depending on the spend appetite, one can choose solutions from a variety of options to suit and pamper needs. (Views and opinions expressed are strictly personal only)

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