HOW TO AUTOMATE YOUR HOME
So far, a whopping 42.2million homes in the US are smart and automated.
My guess is that you’re also looking to join this bandwagon, and the question on your mind is, “How to automate your home?”
Well, look no further as we’d be discussing everything you need to know about home automation systems.
Gone are the days when you had to physically monitor every home gadget and appliance before you go to bed or even leave the home. Thanks to the technologies called “Home Automation Systems” and “Smart Home Devices”.
Home automation is gradually becoming mainstream in the United States, and homeowners have been embracing and commending the awesomeness of this technology.
Even though home automation and smart home devices are quite popular now, there are still clouds of confusion hovering around these technologies because many people have been having issues comprehending the difference between the two.
In this guide, we will explain home automation and how smart devices are used in making home automation. Also, we’ll highlight the benefits of home automation, the pros, and cons of this technology, and suggest smart devices you can use to automate your home.
What is Home Automation System or What Does it Mean to Automate Your Home ?
Home automation systems consist of more than just smart devices and mobile apps. It’s a complete system with a central controlling hub that makes your home feel and look truly smart.
Think about a home where not only your smartphones and computer can connect to the internet, but everything else? Lights, gate, doors, clocks, humidifier, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, cameras window blinds, windows, oven, microwave, food processor, camera, doorbells, TV set, speaker, and every other home device and appliance can connect to the internet.
Consider your door opening up once the camera detects your face at the door. As you step in; the lights turn on, the thermostat turns to a crisp 70⁰F, your window blinds are pulled up automatically, and your music player plays your favorite jam or your TV tunes to your favorite show or movie. A condition where you can be informed when all the plates in the dishwasher are clean or the clothes in the washing machine are fully washed or the food in the sandwich maker is ready.
All of these and more without even saying a word or touching a button. That’s exactly what home automation feels like.
All your devices are connected via the internet. They all communicate, send information, receive commands from you, and are controlled via a smart automation hub.
While the home automation system consists of smart devices, connected mobile applications, and a smart automation hub, the connected home works with only the first two.
The Smart Automation Hub
The smart automation hub is the brain behind the whole system. It is the force that connects and holds the gadgets together.
The automation hub serves as the central nervous system that makes it possible for the smart devices to connect and communicate with one another to carry out a sequence of automated tasks. It is the one that makes all the automated experience come to life.
Connected Mobile Applications
The mobile applications allow you to monitor, manage, and control the smart devices in your home. All you have to do is download the companion app of the automation system and pair it with the automation hub, set up the sequence of activities or the functionality of each device, and you’re good to go. You can set the power control, speed, timer, and many more.
While the automation hub works like the brain and the heart, the smart devices and gadgets are the body parts or workhorses that carry out the actual work. They implement commands and some of them are classified below:
1. Appliances – Almost all home appliances can be part of the automation system. Smart refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, food processors, washing machines, etc. can all be automated and connect to smart home technology.
2. Security Devices – They include smart locks and other devices that ensure safety and security at home.
3. Access Control Devices – Access control devices include security cameras, fingerprint & facial recognition sensors, motion sensors.
4. Climate Control – The climate controllers like the smart thermostat and air conditioners are in charge of the indoor climate.
5. Healthcare Devices – Smart scales and smart humidifiers are the most common health care devices
6. Lighting Control Devices – Smart lighting devices include dimmers, light strips, lightbulbs, and switches.
7. Entertainment Gadgets – Smart YV sets, Audio sound systems, film projectors, wireless speakers, etc.
8. Resource Manager – smart energy devices include smartwatches, strips, remote sprinkler controls, etc.
Types of Home Automation Setup
With the smart gadget types listed above, you may think it’s getting expensive to set up an automated home. But not to worry. It’s not a must you set up all at the same time.
Here are the types of automation set up that you can install in your home. You should be able to find a fitting one:
- Single-task Automation Setup: This automation set up is perfect for beginners who are just coming into the leagues of automated homeowners. Smart thermostats, security cameras, smart locks, robotic vacuum cleaners, and some other devices have now been incorporated with automation features that allow you to set program tasks to be repeated every hour, day, weekly, or whenever you deem fit.
- Multitask Automation Setup: Multitask automation setup is a step further than the single-task. It is for homeowners who want to improve their smart home experience. Applet programs such as If-This-Then-That (IFTTT) can be used to program and trigger tasks in an automated sequence.
- Homeowners Automation Hub or Setup: This is the full home automation package we discussed earlier. It gives you a seamless home automation experience, carrying out programmed tasks in sequence without you saying a word or pressing a button. If you are on a big budget, you can go for this full home automation experience. You don’t need to worry about doing chores and tasks such as vacuuming, switching on the thermostat, opening the doors and gates, or even worry about your home security while away from your home. Everything is programmed on the smart hub.
Things to Consider Before Automating Your Home
While you’re buzzing about automating your home, there are a few things you must know and consider before choosing a smart or automation device for your home. With a lot of smart devices out there from various manufactures and each one claiming to be the best of the lot, you may easily go for the wrong one.
So here are basic things to consider to help you determine the smart devices that will be suitable for your home and lifestyle.
- Consider Your Budget
Home automation is something that would easily get anyone excited, but one thing you have to consider before venturing into it is your budget. Smart devices come at different prices and the cost of automation varies according to the type of setup. Their prices range from cheap to affordable to pretty expensive, so go for anyone your budget is comfortable with.
- Know Your Tech Level
Smart home devices require different levels of technical proficiency in their operation, so much you must get yourself acquainted with how some of these smart home automation systems work. If you’re not familiar with technological devices, it would be better for you to go for the basic smart devices that are user-friendly and pretty intuitive.
- Ensure the Smart Device Suits Your Need
Your needs are different from that of others, so don’t buy a smart device just because your neighbors told you about it but rather because it solves a specific need. Your lifestyle, schedule, and other things that are important to you should be put into consideration before settling for a smart device.
- Research Each Product before Buying
Once you have figured out the kind of automation system that fits your budget and technical prowess, kindly take your time to do thorough research on the product. Go online and read customers’ reviews, buyers’ guides, etc. before buying the smart device.
How Do You Automate Your Home?
There are usually two options available to homeowners when trying to install a home automation system, namely: home automation by Professionals or DIY home automation.
Homeowners usually have to decide which one is best for their budget, schedule, and technical proficiency.
- Professionally Installed Home Automation System
Having professionals handle your home automation installation is an excellent way to ensure efficient functioning of the system and that the individual devices that make up the system all function to their optimum capacities.
This method saves you time, energy, and possible installation errors that could cause technical damage to the system.
However, getting a professional installation will cost you money depending on the home automation company, their service cost, and the type of automation setup you want to install.
- DIY Home Automation
Personalizing your home automation system is easier when you do it yourself.
You would need to learn a few things about the different devices before starting the installation of your home automation system.
Choose the automation hub and smart devices that best suit your needs and lifestyle, and get to work.
This method is an excellent way to save yourself some buck and get familiar with the world of smart devices.
However, this method will cost you time and energy, and you’re more liable to commit technical errors in the installation of your home automation system.
What Are the Features of an Automated Home?
In a smart home, almost everything in your home that’s powered by electricity can be automated. First, you need to decide the functionality of the automation system based on your needs, lifestyle, and preference.
Below are some of the most popular features of an automated home
- Smart Security Cameras
Smart securities have been in use for a long time. They can automatically detect movement around your home and notify you by sending live images to your smartphone so you can evaluate and deal with the situation as appropriate.
- Automatic Lights
These are particularly common in smart homes. They use motion sensors to detect movements and they turn off the lights when someone leaves the room and turn it back on when someone enters the room. You can have automatic lights installed in hallways, staircases, and other places where light switches are not conveniently placed.
You can also program your automated lights in more unique ways. For example, you can have the lights turn off in certain parts of the house after 11 pm and turn on dimly in the bedroom and some other part of the house.
- Automatic Cooling & Heating System
You can have your automatic cooling and heating devices (such as air-conditioning system, thermostat, humidifier, etc.) programmed to certain temperatures at certain times or have them automatically turn off when the motion sensor detects there’s no one in the room.
- Automatic Locks
Automatic locks can use sensors to detect your smartphone and automatically unlock the front door when you arrive or close to your house. It can also unlock and open your garage if it detects your presence.
Unlocking your garage or front door can also trigger a sequence of other activities from other components of the system such as light, window blinds, music, heating, etc.
- Automatic Blinds
Sensors can observe the brightness and temperature in your room and automatically open or close the window blinds to optimize brightness and temperature and reduce your need for the cooling and heating system.
Pros or Benefits of Home Automation
- Helps to improve the safety and security of your home.
- Ensure the efficient use of energy
- Saves you time and stress by carrying basic routine tasks.
- It is very easy to use, control, and maintain.
- It is cost-efficient
Cons or Disadvantages of Home Automation
- Its use can be limited by a slow internet connection
- It is expensive to set up and maintain.
Most people automate their home to maximize energy use and make their lives more convenient, efficient ,and comfortable.
There are so many smart devices out there that will appeal to you, but ensure you buy only the ones that suit your need, budget, and preference.
You can start small by buying your smart devices one at a time and you’d have a fully automated home before you realize it.