It was back in the 1970s with the invention of the microprocessor that the idea of automating the average family home began to become a realistic possibility. Now, with the increasing speed of the digital revolution, wireless connectivity, smartphones and the Internet of Things, the automated home has arrived. While some applications are designed purely to make day to day living that little bit easier, others can provide a major benefit to home (and business) life generally.
For the astute housekeeper, substantial savings can be made over a 12 month period. With all apps downloaded to your smartphone and with compatible appliances, you can organise the home heating from your office. You can switch it on or off, adjust temperature and isolate different rooms.
Inside and outside lighting can be switched on and off. With motion sensors fitted you never need to moan at the kids for leaving their bedroom lights on ever again. Porch, garage and garden lights can be switched on to see who’s knocking at the door. Your smart-fridge can monitor what needs to be replaced, and who´s pinching the munchies.
Many homes are fitted with water metres. Connected up to the Internet of Things they can be monitored to ensure no-one has left a bathroom or kitchen tap running. Likewise electricity and gas smart-meters help in the monitoring and control of your energy use, ultimately leading to lower consumption and reduced bills.
Security and Peace of Mind:
Long gone are the days you could leave home for a couple of hours leaving windows open and doors unlocked. Nowadays, there are more homes fitted with burglar alarms and CCTV than not. And we still worry when we’re away. In today’s world, with a combination of home automation apps, automatic door locks, motion sensors and CCTV cameras placed inside and out, we can monitor on our smartphones, tablets or office computer, everything going on in and around our des res. At home we can check to ensure new born or toddlers are sleeping safely. Away from home, we can look in on elderly or infirm family members to make sure they are safe. While at work we can allay that nagging doubt about whether we locked the back gate, or closed the garage door.
Full home automation systems are still very much in their infancy, yet it is estimated by 2019 the technology will be worth over US$1-billion in the UK alone. Along with systems already mentioned, lights can also be dimmed and the light hue changed. Curtains can be opened and closed, and with Google´s Home, and Amazon’s Alexa amongst others, voice requests can be made for certain operations – negating the need to stretch for that heavy smartphone.
There seems little doubt over the next 20 years fully automated homes will become the norm rather than the exception. While every single, couple and family will be able to benefit from this new technology. For the elderly, disabled and infirm especially, it will mean greater independence in their home, and provide the added security of being able to alert family, warden or health clinic should some mishap occur.