What is home automation and how is it changing

What precisely does a home automation system do? Fundamentally, technology is freedom.

Early home automation: extremely modest beginnings

A house is a machine to live in, famous architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (often known as Le Corbusier) observed in 1923. Nikola Tesla pioneered wireless remote control using radio waves during his lifetime, opening the door for contemporary Wi-Fi and Z-Wave communication. Le Corbusier, however, was unable to foresee the development of technology like computers, the internet, Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and more.

The home was being attempted to be transformed into a “machine to live in” in the 20th century. Some of these programs were quite helpful, while others were absurd.

In a way, labor-saving innovations like running water, gas heating, vacuums, washing machines, dishwashers, and running water were the precursors to home automation. They changed people’s lives. Then, as technology advanced, labor-saving technologies began to include remote control, networking, and computers.

Social change brought about by labor-saving technology

People were liberated from physically demanding, time-consuming labor by the development of technologies like running water, electricity, gas ovens, refrigerators, freezers, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and washing machines. And, as Science Daily points out, many of these innovations had a disproportionately negative effect on women’s life at a time when men were disproportionately absent from household chores.

American women worked 58 hours a week on average on housework in 1900. That amount was 18 hours in 1975. What were women doing during that time? Joining the workforce was one effective response. The percentage of married women in the workforce increased from 5% to 51% between 1900 and 1980.

In the 1950s, many labor-saving conveniences became widely used. For instance, mass production of contemporary refrigerators started following World War II. Additionally, 90% of families in metropolitan America had refrigerators by 1950.

Daniel Hess of Iowa received the first vacuum cleaner-related patent in America in 1860. However, because it generated suction using hand bellows, it was not very practical (and maybe never assembled by Hess). When 60-year-old janitor-turned-inventor James Murray Spangler used a ceiling fan motor to create suction and operate a rotating brush, working vacuums finally made it to the consumer market. However, his vacuum business was a failure, and he was in danger of going bankrupt. But he sold the patent to the husband of one of his first and most loyal clients.

Primitive smart devices 

The Honeywell Kitchen Computer, arguably one of the earliest smart home appliances, was more ridiculous than a hand-pump vacuum. This device, which resembled a cutting board coupled to a crude computer, was promoted as a time-saving tool by Neiman-Marcus in 1969. It could save recipes, create shopping lists, and balance a checkbook. No units were ever sold, maybe because they cost $70,000 in today’s dollars and needed a 2-week training course to utilize them. Additionally, the target audience was oddly insulted by the marketing tactic. If she could only cook as well as Honeywell can compute, said the slogan.

The first camera-based home security system was patented by an African-American lady called Marie Van Bitten Brown in 1969 as well. Her system allowed customers to remotely operate a camera that broadcast video to a television in the house and looked through peepholes on doors. Even remotely, opening the door was possible.

How “talking” smart devices communicate with one another Information is, of course, only helpful when data is shared. Three primary techniques for wireless communication between devices are used in modern home automation. Even if your smartphone lacks Wi-Fi, you can still communicate with your smart home thanks to cellular data. And while the Hub, the control panel for a smart home, has Wi-Fi capabilities, it communicates more reliably with the outside world thanks to its cellular connectivity.

The hub of the smart home is Wi-Fi. Some businesses include Wi-Fi into every smart device. While this works, Wi-Fi can drain batteries more quickly, is less dependable than cellular, and several devices might slow down your network’s functionality.

Most smart devices use Z-Wave, a wireless communication standard, as opposed to Wi-Fi. Similar to Wi-Fi, Z-Wave uses radio signals to transport data, but it does so more effectively and at a separate frequency to avoid interfering with other devices (using less battery). A Z-Wave radio on the Hub “talks” to all the devices.

The ability of Z-Wave devices to retransmit signals is a useful feature. For example, if one light bulb is too far from the Hub, other devices will rebroadcast the signal, boosting it and extending its range.

How contemporary smart devices operate

Sharing and gathering information are wonderful, but it must be put to use. The use of data and computational power to carry out tasks is the core of home automation. Here are just a few examples of what a smart home is capable of:

  • One of the simplest things to set up when developing a smart home is automated light control. You can start automating your house by adding smart light bulbs to your fixtures or using wireless light control plugs for your lights. Individual lights can be dimmed, turned on, or off using your phone, or their operation can be automated. Learn more in this post about the applications for smart lights.
  • One of a smart home’s most potent features is access control via smart door locks. These gadgets allow you to lock and unlock a door using your smartphone from any location, and they can also do it automatically based on the location of your phone or the activation of another sensor. Additionally, every smart lock comes with a keypad that eliminates the need for misplacing house keys. Discover more about the features of smart locks.
  • Smart thermostats provide you the ability to change the temperature in your home remotely or set it according to the season, a particular event, or the time of day.

The ability to set up your gadget

Through the app or web interface, you may configure the smart system’s rules, scenes, and schedules.

Simply stating to your system, “If X happens, do Y,” is what a rule is. You may, for instance, establish the straightforward rule: “If the fire alarm sounds, switch on all the lights.” When you are within a mile of your home, you can set up a rule using Geo-services that adjusts the temperature and turns on the lights.

Rules that are activated by time rather than input from a device are called schedules. You could program a “wake up” routine to turn on the lights and raise the temperature to assist you get out of bed.

The user can interact with preprogrammed scenes by tapping the screen, speaking to a voice assistant like Alexa, or setting a schedule. Some lights might be dimmed in a “date night” scene to create a comfortable atmosphere. A “leaving the house” scene can involve arming the security sensors, locking every door, turning off the lights, and adjusting the thermostat.

Home automation’s foreseeable future

There are many fantastic innovations in the works. We anticipate seeing what else will be weaved into the smart home because the spirit of home automation is found in connecting new technology, and the possibilities seem limitless.

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more sophisticated, it may be used to automate tasks for you in a smart home. The capacity to program many situations and rules exists now, but getting what you want still requires effort. AI might figure out the optimal temperature or get you up earlier on days when you have important work presentations. You won’t even need to consider it.

However, some of this future already exists: The AI Engine at some smart home systems is already capable of analyzing daily routines in your house and alerting you to odd activities. The system might recognize that your dog walker usually comes to let your dog out at 2 p.m. every day, and if they don’t, it will automatically send you an “unusual activity alert” to let you know.

Another emerging technology that is already being used to unlock smartphones is facial recognition. As a result, many smart houses will likely soon feature this technology. For instance, doorbell cameras may be able to detect your face and handle everything without requiring you to enter your code to unlock your door or deactivate your security system. But as the use of facial recognition spreads, privacy worries will also rise.

A house that is time and energy efficient

Home automation is all about removing boring duties, whether you use it to lock your door, turn, water your garden, or turn on the lights. What would you do if there were machines to communicate knowledge, perform labor, and automate the menial tasks? Spend more time with your family? More work, produce more? The ability to concentrate on what matters is the promise of home automation.