Smart home design - how does it work?

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Smart home design - details

smart home systems find best one

15.04.2021

What is a Smart Home system?

This term refers to the processes that combine home systems, home and entertainment equipment and electronics, remote video surveillance, control and other home security systems within one common, owner-controlled network.

By this means, convenience and reliability can be increased, because management of multiple devices is available through the smartphone app and frequently repeated processes can be automated.

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The aspect of security and remote monitoring is also extremely important: doors and windows, for example, can be monitored by sensors through installation of an alarm system. As soon as someone approaches the doors or windows when residents are absent, alert signals and lighting are turned on, the owners receive a danger notification on their smartphones, and other signals, programmed at the request of the owner, are activated to take other steps such as calling the police.

More efficient use of energy is another important objective of such systems, in response to an increase in electricity and heating prices. Heating costs can be reduced with a system that automatically lowers the home temperature when the owners are away. Alternatively,harmonizing the consumption of “classic electricity” with the energy produced by solar panels through electronics management significantly lowers energy costs.

To take one example, the system automatically turns on the washing machine only when the electricity produced through the photovoltaic is available in sufficient quantity, thereby considerably reducing costs.
 
How do consumers use Smart Home systems today?

According to market research in 2020, in the UK and Germany the number of consumers with at least one systems component installed in their home exceeds 30%, compared to 26% in 2018.

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Although the term Smart Home has become generally accepted, there are other terms for partially identical or similar systems and products. However, some manufacturers use different marketing terms such as Samsung Connected Living or Bosch Home Connect, etc.

Benefits

Smart Home systems enhance comfort, reduce energy costs and increase safety.

Higher quality of life

Window blinds, outdoor and indoor lighting, and home heating can be switched using a smartphone system or digital voice assistant (Lyra, Cortana, Google Assistant Siri or Alexa), or by setting the system to perform tasks at a specific time. Many systems also offer a feature whereby devices switch automatically when owners leave their houses or return home. In addition, some functions can work in a constant mode so that, for example, in the evening the lights are automatically turned off, the alarm is activated, and the shutters are lowered. These processes can also be activated by pressing the wall switch or by giving the appropriate voice command.

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Home protection

Alternatively, many systems can be used as simple alarm systems. Doors and windows can be monitored with appropriate sensors; in case of danger, lights and alert signals can be turned on, and owners can be informed by messages on their smartphones.

However, there are variations to choose from: the presence of owners can also be simulated by means of an intelligent lighting system. For this purpose, in dark conditions the lighting is switched on and off randomly. In addition, surveillance cameras operating over the Internet can monitor the situation at home at any time using a smartphone application.

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Through the networked internal monitoring and control systems, you can receive a message on your smartphone as soon as movement is detected at the front door. Thanks to the built-in camera, you can see directly on your smartphone whether or not a guest is welcome, even if you are not at home at the moment.

Significant reduction in energy costs

With an appropriate Smart Home system the heating temperature can be automatically adjusted depending on the time. For example, if there are no owners at home during the week, you can automatically lower the temperature. If the windows are equipped with the appropriate sensors, the system can automatically close the radiator thermostats as soon as the window is opened for ventilation.

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Some systems also support so-called Geofencing. This system uses GPS data from connected smartphones to automatically detect whether or not owners are at home and to adjust the heating temperature accordingly. In addition to saving heating costs, the system can reduce electricity consumption by automatically turning off the lights when all residents leave the house.

These smart features reduce heating and lighting costs by around 23%. The savings potential depends on many individual factors such as type of heating, house design, etc.
 
Safety for older people

Smart Home systems help older people live longer in their houses. For example, the system can automatically turn off the stove if there is no-one in the kitchen for a long time. And if a person suddenly falls, the smart watch will automatically issue an emergency call. Video intercoms can also help by saving older people from having to walk to the front door.

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Health

Sensors in the Smart Home constantly measure air quality and inform owners when to ventilate the room. If the humidity exceeds a certain value, the dehumidifier will automatically turn on to prevent mold growth.

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Disadvantages 

A rather important disadvantage of all these systems is related to confidentiality and protection of personal data.

When do residents stay at home? What devices are used in the household and when? A system collects a large amount of data about residents and the manufacturer must ensure that this data is protected, as the system takes over critical roles such as those of alarms and surveillance cameras.
If the manufacturer of a smart smoke detector or smart oven collects personal data, he is also obliged to inform the user about the processing and storage of data.
 
Too many different products and standards

Olisto or you would prefer smartthings?
Here is a small selection of  Smart Home applications:

and so on

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If you buy a system, you will eventually have to choose a standard and live with the corresponding restrictions: for example, an application based on Apple HomeKit cannot be controlled by residents who have an Android smartphone.
 
High costs

Systems costs have increased significantly in recent years, so that if electronic devices, heating and lighting are controlled by a system, the investment required can quickly amount to one thousand or even several thousand euros – especially if it is a large house with many radiators, windows, etc.

In the beginning, it is recommended that the householder automate some home electronics, such as heating control, with an appropriate system. Then the system can be expanded to include other features as needed.

Technical risks

If a manufacturer terminates business operations and closes its technical infrastructure, the acquired system will no longer work. From this standpoint it is advisable, when choosing a system, to rely on large, well-known companies.

Here are some systems already established on the market:

  1. Apple Homekit
  2. Centrica Hive
  3. Comfortclick
  4. Commandfusion 
  5. Control4 
  6. Crestron
  7. Enocean
  8. GIRA Smart Home
  9. Harmony
  10. Homeseer
  11. Idratek 
  12. IKEA Smart Home
  13. Indigodomo
  14. Insteon
  15. Lightwaverf
  16. Lutrtron
  17. Openhab 
  18. Philips hue
  19. Rako
  20. Ring
  21. Savant
  22. Shiononline
  23. Swann
  24. Velbus
  25. Vera
  26. Zipato
  27. Xiaomi Smart Home
  28. x10

an so on